April 2012 Magazine Article

THIS IS GOING TO HURT…A few months ago I started to train to compete in triathlons. This is race involves a swim, a bicycle ride and then a run. This has been a bit of a shock to my system.  Each element of the race requires a different set of muscles or kind of co-ordination. One minute I feel stiff from running and no sooner have I recovered I then feel stiff from riding a bicycle.  My mind wants to do this but somehow my body does not want to even think about it because it means discomfort and some degree of hurt. The human body is a wonderful mechanism but it is not made to do some things that are not natural for it. God made us to run and to swim but I am not sure that he made us to ride a bicycle especially at a break neck speed. It’s the most exhilarating experience but the most unnatural activity which causes the pain. I am reliably informed that this is all part of aging and things may even get worse and there is nothing I can do to reverse this process.

As I write this, Easter is fast approaching and we look forward to celebrating the death and the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. This means a restored relationship with God if we put our trust in the Lord Jesus as our saviour. Underneath all this there is the promise that we can know life as it was meant to be. Jesus put it this way “… I have come that they may have life and have it to the full” (The Bible, John 10:10).

The problem we all face today is that there are many “unnatural” things that we were not made for. We were not made to have to cope with death or grief or any kind of suffering. That is why we find life very difficult. When God created the world including mankind everything was perfect with no death. The whole of creation living in perfect harmony with God. We can trace all the wrong things in this life and the painful unnatural experiences today to one thing. When Adam and Eve rebelled against God, sin entered into the world and the perfect human existence was damaged. Today we are part of the problem as sin is in our human DNA. The Bible states that “. . . through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned,” (Romans. 5:12 NASB)

If we were to leave it at that then the situation would be pretty hopeless and death and suffering would be the only thing we would know. This would mean a permanent separation from God and a life completely devoid of meaning and purpose. No matter how hard we try to solve our problems ourselves we cannot. This applies especially to death, because with all the advances of medical science we may be able to delay death but we cannot stop it. We need saving from ourselves and our sinful world. This is why Jesus came – to be our saviour. By saving us from our sin and giving us new life we can know God’s forgiveness and have a relationship with him. We can know life as it was meant to be. A new beginning and a fresh start. Paul puts it this way “.., if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!  All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ…”  (2 Corinthians 5:17-18)

True Easter joy is based on the hope that comes from trusting the Lord Jesus as our Saviour and the hope that life here on earth is not all that there has to be. A restored relationship with God means that one day we will be able to spend eternity with him and live in a place where there is no death or any other kind of suffering because everything will be made new – and perfect. At the end of the Bible we are given a glimpse into this life in it that we can hope for with certainty.  “… “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them…and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”(Revelation 21:3-4)

Praying that this Easter we will all find renewed hope and joy and have grateful hearts for all the Lord Jesus has done for us in coming to be our saviour and giving us the gift of new life and new beginnings.

Calvin Howard, Associate Priest