The With-Us God Advent | Fall: The Incarnation of Mercy

 In RZIM Africa

Where is God in the pandemic? Where is God in the oppression? Where is God in the sickness or death of a loved one? These questions and countless others besides are a source of visceral anguish in moments of suffering.

When we look over the creation God declares to be “very good,” there is also hostility and injustice that we cannot acknowledge as remotely good. How do we square the birth with the death, the beauty with the brokenness? After Creation, follows the unfortunate Fall. Rather than living in accordance with God’s good design, humanity decided to trust in its own wisdom and self-leadership. The results from the experiment have been disastrous. We courted death and decay by choosing to live against the grain of reality. Thinking we had won our freedom, we instead began a long journey of enslavement to a thousand passions. Not only had we acted contrary to nature, but we had actively – and continue to – cut ties with the God who made us from and for love. The effects of the unravelling are seen everywhere.

How ought a just judge rule in the light of a crime? How ought a lover feel in the face of a betrayal? What ought the creator God do with creatures who rebel? As in the case of the judge and lover, God is utterly correct to be aggrieved and pass a sentence. We love justice, but not when it is directed at us. Instead of the expected dismissal into custody, God intervenes by intercepting the consequences of our fall. God graciously steps into our mess. Into our chaos. Into our suffering. After the Fall, where we expect to be cast off, we are met with a surprising mercy.

The first part of the answer to the anguished cries of the human heart is the presence of God – in the midst of ambiguity, uncertainty and suffering. Advent lays before us the God who is with us in the pain, providing his hope and comfort, as well as the promise to heal all wrongs in the end.

Questions to reflect on this week:

  1. What hard experiences/ questions has this pandemic season raised for you?
  2. What difference might it make for God to be with us in suffering?
  3. How can you invite God into a current experience of pain or suffering?


Written by Mike Day | 2020

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

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