What is the greatest pain in the world? What is the greatest evil?
Many might answer ‘death.’ That death is the greatest pain and the greatest evil. But why? And is that true? In John’s gospel, we have an amazing story about how Jesus raises a man to life who was dead — Lazarus. And yet, he admits to his disciples that he could have been there and could have prevented it, for he tells them later, “I am the resurrection and the life.” Yet he says to them “and for your sake, I am glad I was not there, so that you would believe.” Why? How could death be preferable?
Because death is not the greatest evil; unbelief is.
But more than that; more than the ‘why’ is the ‘who.’ The ‘why’ might help us to understand the reasoning, but reasoning is cold and calculating. Reasoning says, ‘this pain is worth it because this and that makes joy.’ But the ‘who’ gives us peace. It does not matter so much the reasoning, because much of what God does is beyond us. What matters is the power and presence of a peace-giving King. What matters is not that God explain himself, but that He be close; and in that closeness I find comfort. I am not satisfied when I know, but only when He is near. That is when I am satisfied, when I am comforted; when Jesus is near at hand.
There is much more to say, but I will leave that to this Sunday. Join us, as we open up the Scriptures and ponder together the words of Jesus, “I am the resurrection and the life.”