The kind of robbery I really enjoy

I want to know what you think about robbery.

(I know, you get asked this all the time, but humor me!)

I know, it’s disgusting, isn’t it?

Atrocious.

But what about if it isn’t your house that’s been robbed? What if the thief had a good reason? What if he didn’t mean to offend or defraud his victim? What if he was merely taking what was his? What if he had no other choice?

Would you prosecute him? Would you sentence him to jail?

What would you do in this situation? Would you sit back and hope it would go away? What if you knew you had to make a decision? What if you knew the whole weight of justice rested on you?

What if you liked him?

My, now that would be some problem! Probably incurable, I’d reckon. Highly inconvenient, wouldn’t you say?

(I know I would say that if I was in that situation.)

Is it possible to be neutral toward the case and yet invested in it at the same time? God was…in your case.

He was fully committed to justice and fully committed to you at the same time. So God subjected His Son to the demands justice made of Him because of you. Jesus Christ represented the Father and He represented you.

For God He was divine and perfectly holy–honoring His Father in all things; for you He was human and tempted by all the pleasures of sin that would cause Him to disobey His Father.

But that is not what He did. The divine part of Him became the head of the human part of Him, directing it; and the human part of Him submitted to the divine part of Him, receiving the other. The two parts of Him worked together making His death and resurrection a pleasing restitution; even becoming the reconciliation of God and man.

So, despite the fact that God had no leniency in His judgments toward robbery, He loved you who robbed Him of His glory and authority in your life.

Yet how fitting that He would resolve the matter with His own “robbery” of heaven. He, who did not belong on earth among us, came down and made His home with us. All of heavens joys and abundance that He once so rightly enjoyed He forsook to claim your sin. Then, when your sin was dealt with, He rose to give Himself and all His inheritance away to you, if the robber should accept.

Isn’t that a joy?

Frustrated? Yeah, I thought so

Let me ask you a quick question: Do you get frustrated?

(Long pause.)

I thought so.

(If you didn’t say yes, you’re probably frustrated with me right now for even asking.)

Let me pose another: Do you think it’s fated or do you and I have some recourse?

(If you’re hoping I’ll stop, you can relax. I’m not trying to expose your inadequacies to shame you, I’m trying to recommend to you a strength that’s greater than all the frustrations we daily face in this world.)

You don’t have to strengthen your present armor, you just have to ask Someone to become your armor. Not so that you will never get frustrated again, but so that your frustrations will not possess you and hold you captive. So that, when frustrations assault you, you will have a defense–a confidence greater than what assails you.

You and I have available to us a grace that fortifies us with peace in the midst of our frustrations and carries us with mercy when we fall. Neither depression nor expressions of anger or fear can manipulate us when the Force within us is greater than that without.

We know that Christ is great enough to confront everything we face because where we failed in keeping God’s law, He didn’t. He lived in our frustrating world and was as susceptible to its threats as we are, yet He didn’t live according to its dictates or mirror its orientation in His soul. His soul was unblemished. And rather than be frustrated by the world, He frustrated it.

He died on behalf of hopeless sinners who defied God’s judgments. He fulfilled those judgments on our behalf and by doing so exalted God in all the earth. But His mission had no ultimate meaning except in this: that He return us prodigals and pharisees to His Father, that He might also be our Father too.

Who could do this work instead of Him? Who could live as though it didn’t exist? We all can. And yet, in this work is all the answer we have to living in this frustrating world. We put it to work by trusting Jesus; believing that He has removed the frustration that is between natural man and God. We confess that every frustration in us and in our world comes from this one ruined relationship and we acknowledge that we are the ones who deserve the blame for it.

We accept His provision of mercy and forgiveness with wonder–both are undeserved and costly, the mark of a Heart more generous and compassionate and selfless than all others. The only one true heart.

And He has offered in His salvation plan to both accomplish our acceptance in righteousness and make our heart mirror His. This is a sweet deal for us who need a higher calling than here and the blessed fortitude to live it out!

Oh, give us eyes to see the One who encompasses us about in every trouble. You alone can do this, O God!