The good folks at Overcome the Lie asked me to write a post for them, and I was immediately excited because I knew it’d push me to take some time for self-reflection.
I started ruminating in a leisurely way, with a cup of coffee and my journal. And then just after the holidays things in our home seemed to start unraveling…and in no time my brain space was taken up with antibiotic dosages and asking friends for favors.
Let me be blunt: 2014 isn’t off to a great start.
I’d say it was comical except it wasn’t funny at all. Instead, it seemed unfair. Can’t we our family have some relief? When will we have an easy week? Can we have a few days without some unforeseen circumstance?
Also this month, some of our close friends suffered a loss; a difficult, deep loss. Their loss was so much bigger and more significant than the nonsense happening at our house, it didn’t just put our problems into perspective, it engulfed them.
Their loss didn’t make sense with the way the world should be. Things like that shouldn’t happen. And the combination of grappling with what should and shouldn’t be and the truth of God’s sovereignty made me consider the biblical curses. I’m talking about Genesis 3 when God curses the serpent, and punishes the man and woman for turning their backs on Him. I usually think about all that in a faraway, long ago way, but I was suddenly thinking about the curses in a new way; what did God really mean when he put a curse on childbirth? When he said, “…I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children…” (Genesis 3:16)? Is this referring to stretch marks and contractions? Or is it deeper than that? Is this about infertility, miscarriage, abortion, loss, orphans.
The real question I was asking was: How deep does the curse go?
Usually, in my day to day life, I don’t really believe it goes very far. Not literally, anyway.
But this is the truth, when sin entered the world, it permeated it. A dramatic change happened and that change affected the plants, the animals, the ground, the rocks. The most dramatic change was in us; it infected our souls.
Sometimes I forget that.
Sometimes I believe that I can arrange my circumstances so that sin won’t bother me. I can use hand sanitizer and workout and stick to my grocery list and try to go to bed extra early. If things are new enough or recommended enough or insured enough, we’ll be fine. If we get an upgrade or a promotion or change our zip code then the fall can’t touch us. Soon, if I can just get meal planning done by Sunday night, we won’t be stressed or sick or selfish.
But it’s a lie. It’s a carefully constructed, furtive lie.
Our salvation isn’t wrapped up in a future set of circumstances that are just out of reach. And that’s the lie I believe: that I can that I can somehow escape or avoid the curse on my own. But I can’t.
No, sin is too big for that.
And so is our salvation.
On my own I would be overwhelmed, overcome by the curse. But that’s exactly why we can have hope. Because Jesus overcame the curse for us.
Jesus tells us HE is the only source of peace because He already overcame the world. He over came the brokenness, the heartache, the unforeseen inconveniences. He overcame sin and death for us, because He loves us.
I place my hope in a hundred things a day; I fantasize about sleep and organization and warm weather. I even put my hope in the good fortune of stores that have automatic doors, because holding open a heavy door while also holding my baby and my toddler’s hand is sometimes the thing that threatens to undo me.
But it won’t. No, it won’t because Jesus overcame all that when he overcame the grave.
Those things won’t destroy me, and avoiding them won’t fix me. I’m not selfish and impatient because I’m tired. I’m selfish and impatient because I’m a sinner. The curse, it’s deep. I know it’s deep because I know my heart: every dark, black corner of it.
Yes, yes, the curse is deep. It is deep and big and painful and overwhelming at times. But the curse is not bigger than Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior who died on the cross for our sins, who suffered in our place and overcame the grave so that we could share in His glory and have a relationship with Him.
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33