Years ago, I recall a Chris Rice song that resonated with my soul. It was named “Hallelujahs.” It described scenarios of life, like experiencing a purple sky to close the day, wading in the surf to see dolphins play, and tasting the salt even though watching the dancing waves. At the finish of the refrain, these words would echo all through the song, “And my soul wells up with hallelujahs.”
Yes, there are undoubtedly instances all through life exactly where my soul wells up with hallelujahs—with “Praise the Lord!” Even so, I have also seasoned my fair share of situations exactly where my soul wells up with Maranathas!
Have you ever located your self crying out, “Maranatha?” Maranatha is an Aramaic word employed in 1 Corinthians 16:22 that can imply, “Our Lord, Come!” or “Come, Lord Jesus!” Interestingly, as Trevin Wax notes, this second interpretation wasn’t broadly employed till the final couple of centuries. In reality, as he notes, all through the ages, Maranatha has been primarily employed as a declaration, “Our Lord has come.”
Each are proper, but 1 version finds itself on the minds and lips of folks when faced with life’s pains and sufferings. This week has been 1 of these weeks exactly where “Maranatha” has been uttered from the lips of numerous, like myself.
I located myself crying out “Maranatha!” as I scrolled by way of the feeds that marked the 18th anniversary of 9/11—the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil. The devastation triggered by these acts of terrorism pretty much 20 years ago will be forever stitched in our minds: planes flying into towers, folks jumping from buildings, dust filling the city air, lifeless bodies below piled rubble, and grieving households and pals who in a twinkling of an eye lost husband, wife, parent, or youngster.
In addition to the anniversary of 9/11, the evangelical planet seasoned the loss of a prominent young church leader and mental well being advocate who died by suicide—Jarrid Wilson, a man who loved Jesus and folks, and who had devoted his life to assisting these in need to have. Jarrid preached messages, wrote books, and faithfully ministered to a broken planet, only to uncover himself losing the battle (but not losing the war).
Obtaining heard the news even though driving, I had to wait till I stopped to see it for myself. As I sat and scrolled by way of the feeds, my heart was broken and grieving more than what I study. There had been so numerous comments that expressed heartbreak, grief, sadness, and lament.
The most jarring comment was a twitter post from Jarrid himself the day of his passing. As somewhat of a final, parting words of this life, he posted,
Loving Jesus does not often remedy suicidal thoughts. Loving Jesus does not often remedy depression. Loving Jesus does not often remedy PTSD. Loving Jesus does not often remedy anxiousness. But that does not imply Jesus does not give us companionship and comfort. He Generally does that.
My response is a resounding, AMEN!
But it is the irony of his words and parting action that wells up in my soul a Maranatha! I get how the weight of this planet and the struggle with illness and illness can crush the drive to reside. And as a result, I couldn’t assist but cry out “Maranatha!” more than and more than. Lord Jesus, come! Lord Jesus, come!
Have you been there? Are you there? If so, it is completely acceptable for there to be dry moments and seasons exactly where no Hallelujahs flow from our tongues. It is alright if we somberly sit and utter groanings of Maranatha. This tends to make me consider of Romans eight:22–23, exactly where Paul writes,
For we know that the complete of creation has been groaning collectively in the pains of childbirth till now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
We reside in a planet filled with compounding brokenness, hurt, discomfort, and suffering. It is not like we face 1practical experience of hurt and discomfort Oh no, we face a life filled with such. Sexual brokenness, divorce, betrayal, abuse, violence, discrimination, racism, poverty, abandonment, addiction, illness, illness, and more—not to mention death. We are victims of numerous counts of discomfort and suffering. In quick, the fallen planet, the opportunistic enemy, and the fleshly nature of sin lay claim to numerous a victim—everyone integrated yes, even pastors.
As believers, we think Jesus is in the method of producing all factors new. But there are instances exactly where our hopeful understanding offers way to our groanings of “Hurry up!” In these instances, the struggle with life is just as well actual. We are basically as well overwhelmed with the ugliness and darkness of life, and as a result we cry out—maybe with far more of a tonal demand—”Maranatha!”
When we groan, we wait. Will Jesus answer our prayer? Will he, at that moment, physically come and make all factors new? In all likelihood, possibly not. But 1 day he will.
In the meantime, what do we do?
When practically nothing but Maranatha comes from our lips, exactly where should really our minds and hearts go?
Let me share a couple of thoughts.
Very first, we can attune our minds to the empathetic however completed operate of Jesus.
The eternal God produced flesh entered into the fray of humanity, bore the cross for our sins as he absorbed the wrath of God on our behalf. In clothes himself in humanity, Jesus seasoned life, and as a result discomfort, in a fallen planet. He seasoned betrayal, illness, poverty, abuse, violence, hatred, and even deaths of loved ones.
By taking upon himself the sin of humanity, he entered and endured the greatest of all pains—the wrath of God—and as a result, separation from the Father. So, when it comes to our Maranatha moments, we can rest assured that Jesus knows and understands exactly where we are. And his empathetic and however completed operate becomes the fuel for the courage to face a further day.
Second, we can attune our hearts to concentrate on the hope of glory.
One particular of my preferred passages on this is two Corinthians four:17–18, exactly where Paul writes, “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we appear not to the factors that are observed but to the factors that are unseen.”
Concerning this passage, John Piper says,
Not only is all your affliction momentary, not only is all your affliction light in comparison to eternity and the glory there, but all of it is completely meaningful. . . . Every single millisecond of your pain—from fallen nature or fallen man—every millisecond of your misery in the path of obedience is generating a peculiar glory you will get since of that suffering.
In quick, Jesus is in the method of producing all factors new, and somehow, in some way, even although we can’t see it, God is in the Maranatha moments preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.
In closing, depravity casts a extended and dark shadow. When that shadow hits our lives, Maranatha may well be the only word welling up in our soul. And that is completely ok.
But as you sit in your Maranatha moments, let the Spirit speak hope and peace that Jesus is certainly in the method of producing all factors new. As a outcome, you can also whisper to your soul, as the old hymn writer Horatio Spafford quipped, “It is properly with my soul.”
Josh Laxton at the moment serves as the Assistant Director of the Billy Graham Center, Lausanne North American Coordinator at Wheaton College, and a co-host of the new podcast, Living in the Land of Oz. He has a Ph.D. in North American Missiology from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.