It hurts, sometimes, this living we do. The being born and the growing up and the heartbreaking and the lovemaking and the saying “goodbye” and the saying “I do” and the dying and the living.
Sometimes it really fucking hurts.
And in the real world, we wash that hurt off with some Jack on the rocks and blow it off with a few puffs of Marlboro or Mary Jay.
We wring out that hurt in the beds of lovers or strangers or whores, and we try to prune that hurt out of our lives with the sliding of credit cards.
But the plastic can’t cut deep enough, the sex can’t last long enough, and there’s not a substance in the world strong enough to make that hurt stay gone.
And for people of faith, we walk into a church and we sing songs (that maybe drive us crazy because the music is just so bad) and we shake hands and smile and pretend that this all makes the hurt feel better.
You know? maybe, sometimes, it helps.
But then we walk out of church and it hurts all over again.
The being born and the growing up and the heartbreaking and the lovemaking and the saying “goodbye” and the saying “I do” and the dying and the living.
Church can’t make that hurt stay gone.
(Really, we are so, so fucked.)
And maybe that’s why we get goosebumps when we read about a certain Man from a few centuries ago. Because this Man understood that life hurts. This world hurts. And we are all so royally fucked.
He got it.
He got it.
And not just that, but He lived it and He felt it and He hurt with us. Because He hurt for us. Because He knew that we were fucked and nothing we could do – on a barstool or a motel bed or a church pew – would be enough to make that hurt stay gone.
There was something He could do, though.
By taking the hurt on Himself, He could make it stay gone.
And so He did.
The Son of God put on human skin and lived with the people who were hurting. The more fucked up they were, the more love He seemed to have for them. And He loved them so much He did what they never would have done, even if they could.
He took the hurt.
He took the sadness and the shame and the sin. He took those secret sorrows, the ones so deeply buried that no one knows them but you and your tearsoaked pillows. He took the hidden hurts, the ones whose roots burrow down past your Sunday smile to the very bottom of your being. He took them all.
He took the hurt – all of it.
He took it on Himself, and He took it to the cross.
And it hurt.
More than we can understand – it hurt.
“Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani.”
He breathed and He lived and He hurt and He died for us. Because He loves us as a father loves his children. And there is nothing that grieves the Father quite like His children hurting.
So He did the one thing in all of earth and eternity that could make the hurt go away for good:
He took it to the grave with Himself.
The hurt stayed gone, but He came back.
That tomb is empty.
Our hearts are full.
The King is risen.
Life will still have its share of pain on this side of heaven. We shouldn’t kid ourselves, and He doesn’t ask it of us.
“For in this world you will have trouble…”
We will feel it alright. This world is – for now – haunted by the enemy, bitter that the King claimed His kingdom. Bitter that he cannot have us. Bitter that the tomb is empty.
Bitter that the Healer took on the hurt of the world, and He won.
“…but take heart. I have overcome the world.”
And He alone is enough to make the hurt stay gone.
Hurt may haunt us until He comes again, but it cannot have us.
Do you hear me? It cannot have us.
Because Christ came and He died and He rose.
The King is alive and on His throne.
(We were fucked, but now we’re free.)
Oh death, where is your victory?
Oh death, where is your sting?
He is risen, indeed.
“Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
1 Corinthians 15:55-57