Wednesday, February 8, 2017

bridge over hell

In today's reading from A Year with the Church Fathers, St Ephrem the Syrian compares the cross to a bridge over hell. While I appreciate what he's trying to say, I think his metaphor misses a huge part of the human condition.

Because we don't traipse across a bridge over hell, do we? Not the people I know, anyway. The real life people I talk to every day share in some suffering. They hurt. They have real, legitimate pain in their lives. And that's why the suffering of Jesus is so profound to those who suffer... because they can identify with it. When we lose our job, or break up with our loved one, or find out that we are seriously sick... it doesn't help us to hear a metaphor about walking across a bridge far above the pains of hell. It helps to know that Jesus actually went down INTO that hell for us. That He went down there and defeated it. He took all that hell had to offer and beat it at its own game.

And He'll do that in our lives too. He will take all of your pain, your worries, your anguish, your loss... He is bigger than all of your very real problems. He will take them, redeem them, and give you back a life that you can't imagine because it's so good that it's above the scope of your imagination.

I know that sounds impossible. But nothing is impossible with God.


God, thank You for giving us real hope for our pain, and not a pie in the sky bridge that promises to keep us from all hurting. Thank You for redeeming our mistakes and our pain, not avoiding or ignoring them.