Finding peace by finding trust
This is part two of a two part guest blog by Mike Hood
In the first part of this blog I suggested that the daily death count on the news has brought many of us back to the age-old truth of our fragility as human beings – and shared an image for that from one of the Psalms in the Bible which I find really powerful, of us as fragile flowers:
“The life of mortals is like grass,
They flourish like a flower of the field;
The wind blows over it and it is gone,
And its place remembers it no more.” (Psalm 103:14-15)
But in that ancient song, either side of those lines, we find two bold and beautiful claims about what the real God is like, and between them we find, much to our surprise, that we have everything we need to be able to embrace our fragility, and find peace, by entrusting ourselves to Him.
Firstly we’re told that the real God is compassionate.
“As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.” (Psalm 103:14-15)
God gets it, and he cares. When you think about it, that’s a pretty surprising claim to make about an infinite, all-powerful God. We might instinctively picture a cruel despot toying with us, a dictator in the sky, or perhaps just a harsh headmaster watching with his beady eyes for an excuse to rap us on the knuckles – but a loving father who genuinely understands us, and who cares enough to share our pain? Really?
And yet we know for a fact that this is what God is really like, because this is what God has done in Jesus. In Jesus of Nazareth, God, in the person of his Son, took a human nature himself, so he could actually share our pain. He knows our dusty, fragile life from the inside – he understands our fears, our struggles, our pain – God even knows what it’s like to die.
But it’s even more than that. God didn’t just come to suffer with us in Jesus, but to suffer for us. We’ve all basically told God to leave us alone, but Jesus, who had never said that to his Father, and didn’t deserve this at all, tasted for us what happens if God ultimately says ‘Yes’ to our request. As Jesus hung on the cross, degraded and alone, he went through the deepest darkness of separation from God and everything good that comes from him, and he did it so that we never have to. If we’ll embrace him and trust him, we never have to fear that deepest, loneliest darkness of all because Jesus has gone through hell and back to rescue us and give us peace. That’s compassion. That’s how much God cares.
And then we get the second thing. In stark, glorious contrast to us mortals – fragile and temporary – we hear this:
“But from everlasting to everlasting
the Lord’s love is with those who fear him” (Psalm 103:17a)
God’s love is everlasting. Really? Stronger than death itself? How can we actually know that? Because God has proved it in history – in front of humanity’s very eyes – when Jesus rose from the dead.
Jesus lifted onto his own shoulders the crushing weight of the death we all deserve, and then he defeated it. He got up and walked out of his tomb and hung around for six weeks with his disciples eating with them, touching them, teaching them until he was sure they’d got the message: it looked like death was destroying him on the cross, but in reality he was destroying death. And now he will never die again, and that means his love for us will never die.
Which means that if we trust him and surrender ourselves into his hands, we can relax. We can have peace. Because fragile though we are, his strong, loving hands will never lose their hold on us.Tweet
They will bring us through death, and out the other side into a healed, renewed world to enjoy with him forever.
Grasping these two realities about God doesn’t magically remove everything that scares us, all the ways we feel like we’re curled up, being tumbled over and over by waves we can’t control; but it does make a profound difference to our experience of that.
I think if we entrust ourselves to God we’re less like frightened flowers, and more like trees rooted by never-failing streams of water. Small, dependant, fragile: yes. But deeply safe; because we are deeply and solidly rooted in His compassionate, everlasting love.
Mike Hood works with student Christian Unions at Cambridge and Bedfordshire universities, helping people explore the big questions of life and consider Jesus. You can find some of his talks here . He also loves writing and performing spoken word poetry, which you can find here, he blogs (not as often as he’d hoped) at Daily something different.