Chapter 17 - The Kingdom Falls
There's always two sides to a story, including this week's story of the fall of Jerusalem. One side is really quite disturbing. Jerusalem is surrounded by the Babylonians, a famine sets in, the temple is burned and all the treasured possessions of the Jews are destroyed. The one side of the story is that God has simply had enough with these stubborn, rebellious people and they get what they deserve. But the other side of the story is equally disturbing. God who is broken-hearted. This time around I saw this story through the eyes, or should I say, the heart of God. Can you imagine the pain he suffered allowing such destruction to take place. God really deserved a better performance from his children!
I have never experienced a house fire, but I painfully try to imagine the ache of losing all my prized possessions. Those pictures you worked so hard to pose for and then frame just right. The furniture you purchased after weeks of research. The clothes you spent hours picking out. The financial loss is one thing, but the emotional loss is quite another, and perhaps even greater. The investment you made in making that house just how you wanted it to be all goes up in flames.
As Jerusalem goes up in flames try to imagine the pain that God is experiencing. All the investment he has made in this nation goes up in smoke. The way he lead Abraham, empowered Moses, blessed David -- all is gone. All the hope he had in his nation is nothing more than memories. God must have surely wept at the fall of his prized possession.
And then I turn my attention to me, my life. When I fail spiritually I often see just one side of the story - my failures and the negative results that naturally follow. God punishing me for my sin! But what about my failure from God's perspective? How hurt he must be that I chosen someone or something else other than him. How hurt he must be when I don’t live up to the expectations and promise he has for my life. God does not delight in our suffering, he suffers with us.
As a parent I have felt just a fraction of what God feels. There's no pain quite like when a child disappoints you. After investing so much time and energy into teaching a child, to see them make horrible decisions is heart-rendering! And God is likewise disappointed when we fail spiritually, and that side of the story gives me motivation. I do not want to waste all the investment that God has made in my life. I don't want to bring him grief. I want to make him proud - he deserves it!