And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, "My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will." - Matthew 26:39
God’s wrath is a difficult subject to process. It makes most people uncomfortable to think of His wrath. We’re much more comfortable talking about the loving nature of God, but the reality is His love does not exist without His wrath. His love is deep and far and wide because He is a just God, and because He is a just God, He is a wrathful God.
Understanding God’s wrath means taking a moment to look into the pain in this world. That’s hard. Looking at the heartbreaking tragedies that exist in this world often leaves people asking “If God is so loving, then why doesn’t He do something about all the injustice in the world? Why doesn’t God just stop the horrible tragedies? Why does He allow human trafficking, homelessness, child abuse, terrorism? If He was truly a loving God, then why doesn’t He just wipe all this off the planet?”
Scripture tells us many stories of God exercising His wrath to wipe all this brokenness off of the plant. He demolished entire villages and even the flooded the earth because of the horrible sin that exists. He didn’t wipe out innocent people, He wiped out sinful people that turned their back on Him. He wiped out abusive people who committed heinous, hurtful acts against God’s creation. But wiping out all these people didn’t stop the destruction, the pain, or the sin.
God created us, but we created all those problems that exist in the world with our brokenness. He saw what we did with His beautiful plan, and He responded as a just God. He tried to stop all the horror - the abuse, the slavery, the terrorism - but we keep creating more and more tragedy. The Old Testament is story after story of God exercising His wrath to try to end our sinfulness, and it was all to no avail. We didn’t stop.
He remains a just God, and we remain a broken people. He cannot look at sin without exercising His wrath, so the answer is this: He watched His only son die a painful death just so that we can know Him. He watched His perfect, sinless son suffer tragically so that we don’t have to know His wrath.
But God, who is rich and mercy for us, saved us from His wrath. It’s true, the God of the Old Testament was wrathful, but God saved us from that wrath through Jesus. He sent His only Son to suffer all of His wrath so we don’t have to. He sent His Son to die for us so that we could be free - but part of that freedom means people can keep making a mess of this world. We will continue to see tragedy after tragedy, and wonder why God doesn’t step in to do something.
It’s easy to love a loving God - it's hard to swallow a wrathful God. But without His wrath, His love doesn't make sense. God’s wrath is His love in action over sin. God’s wrath was poured out on Jesus because He loves us. If I’m being honest, there are days I would rather see God’s wrath poured out on the brokenness in this world so we see no more abuse, no more pain, no more tragedy. But I know His plan is bigger than these moments, and His love is greater than the pain. And I know He gave it all to make a way for me to be able to experience a place where there is a place with no more pain.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗
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