Thank you for your desire to pray with us each Wednesday. Rachel and I appreciate your fellowship and support.
I am thankful for my sons who often send me a sermon or podcast they have listened to that has impacted them. Recently, James shared a message by Mark Clark. His main thesis was that things are not as they appear. He highlighted two opposing theologies. The first he called the theology of jumping and the second, the theology of groaning. Let me explain.
The theology of jumping came from a man who was speaking to a large group of Christian leaders and he presented them with a choice of messages. First was an exciting, energetic, illustrative, pumped up, happy sort of message — the jump up and down kind. The second was a Biblical exegesis of a certain passage. The first was cheered loudly and the second was booed. How sad! As he got into his first message, he got the men to get out of their seats and start jumping. They were illustrating that life was all about them and their happiness; they were to forget, to deny, to suppress their troubles and problems, and to focus on their feelings, to pretend that everything about life was great. This is a very self-focused and shortsighted perspective.
The theology of groaning is a reminder that life is difficult. It is the reality that God very often brings us into dark valleys and intense suffering to accomplish His purpose. The experience of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane is proof of that. He lay facedown on the ground and cried, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done” (Lk.26:42). How could He pray like this? How could He get up from the garden and intentionally move toward suffering and pain? It comes down to perspective. While suffering was not easy or desirable, He knew the character of His loving, tender Father. He knew the eternal purpose of God and the necessity of the cross.