On Wednesday, April 6th, 1994, Rwanda began a series of actions that stained and darkened its history in a way nothing else could. Families turned on one another and friends betrayed each other. Arbitrary definitions of people and class deceived a nation into forgetting that they are all humans and they are all made in the image of our Creator. On that Wednesday began the Rwandan Genocide. It would continue for 100 days and by the end of it 1 million Rwandans were murdered. Women being raped, children being murdered in churches. Parents losing children and vice versa. All by people like you and me. For 18 years since, a mixture of humility and shame has been part of the mood of this country. Reconciliation has been the driving motivation. Wounds like that don’t heal quickly though, sometimes not for generations. And for many, it’s still fresh upon their minds.
God’s love isn’t easy to talk about in context with these events. Not to those who were there and those who lost people. Those who lost everything. Those whose scars still haunt them. God’s love isn’t even easy for us to talk about while watching documentaries and movies about it. Still something can, and should be said.
Christ’s death bore the sins of all humanity. God came down and took upon himself the sin of the world so that there could be rebirth. Sin is in nature, sin is our very humanity now. No part of creation was untouched. We see where nature has been touched and affected by our sinfulness in Genesis. We all know that Christ bore the grief and suffering of the entire world. That means not only our sin, but all suffering, all sorrow, all disasters, all genocides and wars. He felt and took on all that grief. He wept over every lost pet, every illness, every burned home, every dead relative and every soul on its way to hell. It nearly crushed him, but by grace he took it and conquered the grave. Can you imagine that? No you can’t, nor can I. But mediate on it long enough and you will cry, and you will hurt and you will have an understanding that God bore something that is just intangible to us; something words just can’t say.
One might ask, where was God when the terrified boy or girl watched his family be struck down with a machete?
The honest answer is, He was on the cross. He was bringing the child’s anguish upon himself. The physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual affliction. He accepted its horrors on the cross. He took it to buy a way out.
Jesus wasn’t the only one crucified, it’s not miraculous to be crucified in itself. What made the crucifixion unique, what made it beyond measure, was that he while upon the cross, he consumed the suffering of all, ever.
We brought this world upon ourselves, and God paid the price for what we had made. Our sin we accepted, demanded a price for it, and that price was death. And yes, Jesus paid it! He didn’t have to, but he did. That doesn’t rid the world of pain. It doesn’t make it any easier. It brings hope.
Where was God while that child’s family was dying?
He was making a way for him and others, to come through the shadow of death and into abundant life. Life everlasting. He opened the door to the exact opposite of the incomprehensible misery Christ took on the Cross.
We deserve genocides, murder and betrayal, but that’s the amazing thing.
The suffering and horrors we see every single day are outrageous, that’s why Jesus did the most outrageous thing.
Just like that moment on Calvary, the darkest point, when it feels like all is lost, that’s the moment hope can be found.
There is hope for Rwanda. Turn your eyes to it. His name is Jesus.
“One son God hath without sin, but none without sorrow.”
Full disclosure: This might seem eerily familiar, that’s because it’s an edited version of my post on the Tsunami\Earthquake that hit Japan. Still just as relevant, only a new context. The reason for the new context, is this summer I’m going to Rwanda and I’m raising support. I’m needing to raise 3400. To be honest, it’s really really hard and I know that literally, I personally can not raise that much. However, I know with Christ all things are possible and I know it’s extremely easy for him to bring that money forth. So if this post moves you in any way, I ask that maybe you would take a moment to give to help me get to Rwanda, so that I and others might be able to help make these truths a reality for many hurting people. Thank you.
On Friday, March 11th, 2011, Japan had its single worst catastrophe since nuclear weapons were used in 1945. An 8.9 earthquake shook the island considered by the Shinto religion as “heaven on earth”. This earthquake resulted in many powerful aftershocks, a tsunami, and the injury and deaths of nearly 4,000 people, in addition to another 1,500 missing. If this wasn’t bad enough, Japan’s nuclear power facilities are having issues cooling and are facing potential meltdown. Sadly that isn’t all. Japan has prepared for an earthquake since 1976, the only problem is, this isn’t it. Another earthquake is overdue south of Tokyo with the potential to be nearly as crippling as this one. (more…)
The Trinity. I’ve been putting off this topic for quite a long time. You see, I love theology. I find it fascinating. I spend nearly my entire school day, reading up on such things. I however deal with a few issues. For one, I feel anything that I could say, for the most part can be found other places, better said. Secondly, I usually don’t get the full gist of it all. Finally, I have an even harder time trying to explain it then I do trying to learn it. I would consider myself fairly intellectual, but my realm of intelligence is emotional and inter-personal. Laws, processes, and definitions are tough for me. My theology is a very emotional theology. Not one that is swayed with my mood. Nor one similar to a impassioned church service invitation. Those are emotions from my head. I’m talking about the emotions of the heart. A God-centered heart specifically. So rather than giving you a textbook answer on the theology of the Trinity. I’d much rather give you my layman’s theology, and if you hunger for deeper understanding, I’ll point you in the right direction. Fair enough?
How on earth (literally) do we fight against such things as ourselves? I mean after all, at first glance it seems pretty counter productive. What about the world? Being hostile to the world also seems to give the wrong image. Finally, how do we fight against Satan, when we’ve never seen him physically? It seems like we have a lot to deal with. Thankfully, Christ is on our side.
Okay maybe the armor of God, sounds better, can’t blame a guy for trying though! It’s pretty clear what this post is going to cover. Originally this was a two part series, but now I’ve decided to flesh it out into three. Just to much to cover to not make it that way. Let’s jump in though, alright?
Gearing up for battle needs to be the first priority. Scripture tells us that we are to put on the full armor of God, directly for confronting Satan. The armor of God consists of the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, feet fitted with the readiness that comes with the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit, all gifts given through salvation in The Son.