As parents we all dread the “phone call.” The ring in the night when the voice on the other end tells you something has happened to your teenage child. Shock, disbelief, and possibly panic all flow over you like a river.
You notice something is wrong with your husband. He is a little moody; short tempered, his enthusiasm seems to be missing. So you ask him, “What is wrong?” At first he simply says “nothing.” But a few days later nothing has changed so you ask him again. And you gently persist when he defers to the “no problem” defense.
Finally, he gives it up, “I lost my job two weeks ago. I’ve been out looking and networking every day but there is nothing out there! I don’t know what we’re going to do.”
Bad news is just around the corner. Hiding in the shadows, it can appear at any time and interrupt the peace of any of us. Bad news is not discriminatory; it preys on the good and the bad, the rich and the poor, the old and the young alike.
One common misperception is that Christianity delivers us from bad news. Nothing is further from the truth. Like the psalmist reminds us, “Rain falls on the just and the unjust.” Christianity does not indemnify us from pain or suffering. But it does contain a promise. The promise of hope that God is there in the darkness walking through our suffering with us.
Our natural desire is to avoid pain or sidestep trouble. But they will find us no matter how hard we try. Whether by our cause or the cause of others there’s trouble in our own River Cities.
But, we have Christ, who on the Cross took our trouble upon Himself and paid the price for us. We have Christ, who on the Cross felt the same pain that we do, suffered the same agony that we feel, endured the same humility that presses us down. In fact, He felt so much more in that while He is enduring my suffering, He is also enduring yours and everyone else’s all at once.
And not only that, but at the end of His life when death won its prize, He called out in the hopelessness of despair, “Father, why have you forsaken me?” Abandoned by His Father, God Himself, and left alone to lie in a grave.
But not for long. God’s showed His love to raise His son from the grave to provide for us the hope that walks through our bad news with us. It is the hope that says whatever today’s difficulty brings we have hope in the knowledge that God has defeated the bad news and opened a victory to us to overcome the suffering of today to live in the glory of His presence tomorrow.
So, yes, bad news will come. But bad news is not the end of the road because God gave us good news to hold our hand on even the worst of our days.