Why do bad things happen to good people?
That perennial question has haunted many spiritual seekers trying to reconcile the notion of a "good" God with the brokenness they see in the world around them.
Through the narrative of the Gospels, however, the question is answered with a different question: Why did the worst thing happen to the best person?
This week we reached the climax of our journey through the Gospel of Mark as we read of Jesus' last moments on the cross in chapter 15:33-39. In a moment of staggering realism, Jesus cries out feeling abandoned and forsaken by God the Father. Jesus, the only sinless person, was betrayed, arrested, abandoned, falsely accused and condemned, mocked, tortured, and executed.
God incarnate forsaken by God transcendent... How can God forsake Himself?
The truly profound revelation in this cry is that God out of the depth of His love emptied Himself in the person of Jesus so that humanity could be rescued in the depths of our brokenness. On the cross, Jesus took on all the weight of sin and death. Three days later, He demonstrated the futility of death's sting through an empty grave.
In one of my favorite songs by Matt Maher, the all-to-familiar questions we ask about pain and suffering in the world are met with the revelation of the Lord's nearness. God, where were you when everything came crashing down around me? Where were you when I was lost and afraid?
You were on the cross. All alone. Forsaken. Dying for us.
May we live today in the knowledge that Christ has suffered with us through the worst that life can bring...and in the knowledge that Sunday is coming. The grave does not have the last say. And one day all things will be restored.