Real Bad

In a recent post, Timothy Keller discussed Jesus’ attitude toward all the difficulties, pain, and suffering we face.

Keller writes:

The story of Jesus standing before the tomb of Lazarus is an endless source of insight for me. As he was about to raise Lazarus from the dead, Jesus was not smiling. He was angry. He was weeping. Why? Because death is a bad thing! Jesus wasn’t thinking, ‘They think that this is a tragedy, but no harm done! I’m about to raise him from the dead. This looks like a bad thing, but it’s not. It’s really a good thing! It’s a way for me to show my glory. It’s really exciting! I can’t wait!’ He wasn’t thinking that. Jesus was weeping at the tomb, because the bad thing he’s about to work for good is bad. The story of Lazarus does not give you a saccharine view of suffering, saying bad things are really blessings in disguise or that every cloud has a silver lining. The Bible never says anything like that! God will give bad things good effects in your life, but they’re still bad. Jesus Christ’s anger at the tomb of Lazarus proves that he hates death. He also hates loneliness, alienation, pain, and suffering. Jesus hates it all so much that he was willing to come into this world and experience it all himself, so that eventually he could destroy it without destroying us.

There’s no saccharine view in the Christian faith. The promise is not that if you love God, good things will happen in your life. The promise is not that if you love God, the bad things really aren’t bad; they’re really good things. The promise is that God will take the bad things, and he’ll work them for good in the totality.”

Many people have questioned God’s love for them after they have placed their faith in Christ. They don’t understand why they still suffer even though they are a Christian. Like the seed sown in the shallow soil they wither under the heat of discomfort and eventually turn away from God completely.

Jesus never promised us a life without trouble, in fact He actually told us in this life we would have troubles (John 16.33). Jesus didn’t come to give us our hearts desire. He came to deliver us from God’s wrath. He came to give us life eternal in heaven. He came because of His great love for us.

Tomorrow we will continue our study of Jesus’ “I Am” statements in the book of John. As we look at the broader story around Jesus’ declaration, “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11.25) we will discover some of the similarities of Lazarus being raised from the dead physically and our being raised spiritually.

I hope to see you Resurrection Sunday at 10:45 a.m. as we celebrate Jesus’ victory over sin, death, hell, and the grave.

Here is a link for directions to Living Oaks Baptist Church.