The following is an edited transcript of the audio.
How does talk about the grandeur and glory of God heal a bruised heart?
It's only a part of the healing that God brings. God is more than grand. He is more than steel. He is more than sovereign. He is sovereign, grand, steel, kind, tender, warm, generous, patient, loving, meek—he is all those things.
And Jesus is the best display of him. He drives people out of the temple with a whip, and he says the most vicious things into the lives of Pharisees: "You whitewashed tombs!" And he says to the leper, "Be clean," and he holds little children in his lap and blesses them. He says to the woman, "Go and sin no more, I don't condemn you either." And he says to Peter, "Feed by sheep. I know you love me. I'm taking you back after your denials."
I said that talk about the grandeur and glory of God is part of the healing process. When you are broken—whether you're divorced, lost your house, lost your job, lost your health—there are seasons when all that you feel you need is somebody who is tender and kind to hold you up and keep you from sinking.
But there are other moments when questions arise like, How could God do this? or How could this possibly work together for my good? and a bunch of other how and why questions. And frankly, I think if we don't give answers to those questions for people, they will stuff those questions. And in the end there will be a kind of internal atheism that will start to grow like a canker and they won't even know what is happening until it comes out in all kinds of weird theology or rejection of Christ entirely.
In other words, the big picture of God has an essential role in the healing of our wounds.
For example, we've got folks in our church who have disabled kids: blind kids, kids who will never have a mind beyond that of a six-month-old, kids who don't have the full use of their arms and legs, kids with Down syndrome. They're all over the map. And what I'm finding as I try to pastor these folks is that they definitely need people to come alongside them, stand by them, help them, serve them, love them, understand them, get inside their skin. But oh, they need more. And they would tell you this.
If they were sitting where I'm sitting, they would say, "This theology that God is sovereign and great and wise and makes no mistakes is huge. It is huge in the self-understanding of the disabled child, and it is huge in the hope of the parents that they can endure a lifetime of providing support."
The way it affects the children is that it teaches them "God created me, and I'm not a throw-away. God loves me like this, he made me like this, and I have a purpose like this. I will find it and I will bless." That's the way Joni Eareckson Tada thinks, and that's the way Krista in our church thinks. "I'm not a mistake! He didn't drop the ball when I was born! I have a meaning! I'll be whole some day in the full sense that you regard wholeness, and in the meantime my brokenness is part of my meaning. And I'll find it, and I'll live it for God's sake."
And for the parents, who for years and years have their whole lives turned upside-down with a baby born that they never expected, everything changes. Where are they getting strength for that? Where are they getting confidence that this can be worked for their good day after day and year after year? No way will it work to say, "God had nothing to do with this. God is wringing his hands. God doesn't produce any of this." That is not comforting. It absolutely is not comforting.
And so, how does this God, majestic and grand and glorious, heal a bruised heart? Part of his grandness and part of his majesty is that he is both strong and tender. He is both affectionate and massively powerful. And both sides are essential to his glory. Both are essential to his grandeur. And if we don't build both into the lives of our people, we will set them up for a terrible fall.