We have all heard the quote, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” I’m sure there is a lot of truth in that. However, what I keep asking myself is, “what if it kills me?” What if the thing I’m most afraid of facing actually does kill my purpose and identity? What if it takes away my rights? What happens then? What if I am to become the dearly departed?
I just recently re-read C.S. Lewis’ book A Grief Observed. The book was made out of journal entries after the death of his wife, and how he dealt with it. In it he says this:
“God has not been trying an experiment on my faith or love in order to find out their quality. He knew it already. It was I who didn’t. In this trial He makes us occupy the dock, the witness box, and the bench all at once. He always knew that my temple was a house of cards. His only way of making me realize the fact was to knock it down.”
What if the whole point is our death? What if God is knocking down our house of cards to show us what really matters? To ressurect us into something greater than what we had expected. The late Episcopal priest, Robert Farrar Capon has said:
“Jesus is only urging his disciples, and us, to do what he himself did in his own trial and passion: to lay down his life and to let God raise it up in his own good time…In Gesthemane, he prayed that God would “let this cup pass” from him. But he also prayed, “nevertheless, not my will but yours be done.” Poverty, not wealth – death, not life – is the only material God uses to save us.”
and Capon again from The Foolishness of Preaching:
“Our preachers tell us the wrong story entirely, saying not a word about the dark side – no, that’s too weak – about the dark center of the Gospel. They cant bring themselves to come within a country mile of the horrendous truth that we are saved in our deaths, not by our efforts to lead a good life
Maybe his will is to knock down our house of cards. Maybe his will is for our death to occur. We might need to just drop dead.
God uses the circumstances that break us and kill us to save us. As if to say, “now I can resurrect you!”
What if in our dying we find ultimate redemption? Isn’t that what a picture of baptism is? Doesn’t baptism signify our dying, and Christ resurrecting us?
Could the thing that is killing us bring us deliverance? Look at Jesus. Three nails brought about his death, but in that death brought deliverance to the world.
The fish in Jonah was both his death and the thing that brought him redemption. For starters, the Bible says that “God prepared” the great fish for him, and then Jonah prayed in 2:1 “From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, and you listened to my cry.”
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
Capon again: “Because at the very worst, all you can be is dead – and for him who is the Resurrection and the Life, that just makes you his cup of tea.”