Monday, 6 June 2016

I Know My Redeemer Lives

I remember once, during a tough few months, reading Job and being struck by these verses...

"God gives me up to the ungodly and casts me in to the hands of the wicked. I was at ease and he broke me apart; he seized me by the neck and dashed me to pieces, he set me up as his target." (Chapter 16)

Weirdly these verses really comforted me because that's how I'd felt at times in the previous few years: as though God was opposing me, setting himself against me, destroying my plans and my peace and taking from me the things I loved and longed for. It was a comfort that someone had felt like this before me, and that it had been articulated so boldly! 

But as I thought about it more, it struck me that Job just thought God was against him. Actually, God was really delighted with him and so Satan wanted to attack. Job's feelings did not represent the full reality. So then I thought- just because it feels like God is opposing me, it doesn't mean God is opposing me. 

Nonetheless, I had my doubts. Job suffered in innocence, and I couldn't possibly make that claim for myself! Often the things I have suffered are a murky mess of circumstance and sinfulness, often I'm a villain at much, if not more than a victim.

But as I thought about it more, it struck me that hundreds of years later, Jesus must have felt exactly how Job felt. He must have felt like God opposed him, handed him over to evil men, broke him apart and dashed him to pieces. He must have felt like all of God's angry wrath was channeled against him. And for Jesus, unlike Job- it was. He felt this way, because it was this way. 

God did oppose him, God did break him apart, God did channel all this anger against Him. He gave Jesus up to the ungodly- breaking him and dashing him to pieces. Jesus was the target. God opposed him and rejected him and his wrath crushed him and caused him to suffer (Isaiah 53:11), though he was innocent, so that I, the guilty one, might go free. 

But then, after the price had been paid in full, God raised him from the dead! And this is why "I know my Redeemer lives" is such good news for those who suffer.

I know my Redeemer lives. He sits at God's right hand- an everlasting, enthroned, glorious reminder: redemption's price is paid, God's wrath is satisfied.

So it may feel like I am God's target, or that he is opposing me, but my Redeemer, alive in heaven by the will and power of his Father, is testament to the mind-blowing truth that whatever it may feel like, God is on my side.  He will never leave me, he will never forsake me. Whatever suffering I may face, I can say with even more confidence than Job: I know my Redeemer lives! 

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