Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Innkeeper

Suffering. We all face it sooner or later. And it can cause us to wrestle fiercely with God when we come to confess that he's sovereign over our pain - that he could stop it but he doesn't sometimes. It's hard - but healthy - to see him truly... Nothing is out of his control.

But he's also compassionate. The good news of the cross teaches us to look at Jesus, who (in God's sovereign plan) looked on us with mercy and suffered for our sakes. He endured a kind of betrayal, mocking, and torture that no one else has ever endured - not merely because of its severity, but infinitely compounded because of how unjust it was. He was morally spotless. He deserved no suffering and suffered worse than I do. But in love, he showed that we were worth it. There was a greater good than avoiding suffering: the salvation of the world! This is amazing news that teaches us, whatever the reason for our suffering, it's not because Jesus withholds his love from us.

Still, when we suffer, it can be hard to relate Jesus' suffering to ours in time and space. Jesus already saved the world by suffering. Further, that greater good was clear to Jesus, so he walked into it with eyes wide open (Heb. 12:2, John 10:11). What about our suffering? What does ours accomplish? Wouldn't it be easier if we too knew what was at stake?

We're taught to trust. "The Innkeeper" is a beautiful poem written and read by John Piper that humbles me. It leads me to feel the grief, injustice, even rage, of a man who didn't get to see the greater good in the midst of deep and perplexing loss, yet he continued to trust God. For his surrender to God's goodness and mystery, he received the compassion of Jesus and the perfection of all things.

I hope this video blesses you. (My thanks to Mike Hall who pointed me to it.)

The Innkeeper
- John Piper - Crossway Books

Happy Hanukkah - May God's temple always be undefiled and the Light of the World always shine.

Merry Christmas - May the King who humbled himself to serve us always be exalted.

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