Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Man of Sorrows

As I was thinking about the topic of discernment and telling the truth in fiction, I remembered a conversation I had with a very thoughtful man from Iran on a flight a few months ago. We began talking about spiritual things and he had a ton of great questions. I struggled a bit with my answers, especially to his question about why there’s evil in the world if God is good.

At one point in the conversation I mentioned that I sometimes struggle with depression and he said, “If Jesus is so powerful, why doesn’t he help you with that?”

Wow. And I had no idea what to say. I sat there for a moment speechless because I do believe in Jesus’s power, but I also know we live in this imperfect, painful world. And we each have our struggles.

Then I remembered the verse in Luke where it says Jesus was a man of sorrows. (I just looked it up, I was wrong. It's Isaiah 53:3. Luke 22:45 just says Jesus was exhausted from sorrow.) I mentioned that to my friend and that also, in the book of John, Jesus is called a man of joy, complete joy (see John 15). I asked him, “Why do you think the Bible would call Jesus a man of sorrows?”

And my friend thought about it for a moment and then he said, “Because he saw the world as it really is.” Then he turned to me and nodded. “Jesus was a man of sorrows. That’s the best answer you’ve given me all night.”

But I think his answer was the best one of the night.

Jesus saw the world as it really is. And the more we become like him, the more we will see and experience that sorrow and that joy too.

I believe that the stories we tell, the novels we write, the sermons we preach, the movies we recommend should be honest about both facets of our world, both sides of the truth. The minute we pretend there’s no reason to feel sorrow, or that there aren’t enough reasons to feel joy, we’ve drifted from the truth and stopped seeing the world as it really is.


Eric McCarty said...

Here's a great interview from marketing guru and author Seth Godin on books and blogs.

Panda said...

Great post, Steven. I think that the world needs to see honest Christians who are open about their own questions and brokenness.

Kathleen in ABQ said...

Just recently discovered your blog. I was in a workshop you taught at Glorieta, NM and was inspired by your work. It's been fun to read your postings. Loved the last paragraph in this posting. Says it all. It is all about honesty and integrity. Trusting God enough not even without all the answers. Keep on Writing!

Anonymous said...

honesty is a rarity in our Christian community. While the cross is a symbol of raching glory by first passing through weakness, I have seen myself do it the other way around. This is so liberating, you know that we need to celebrate the fact that we are fools, and God graces us with all the stuff He IS! Thanx Stevo for being before us who you are before God.