Tuesday, April 17, 2012
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Wow! For once, the United States Congress was totally united. No partisan torpedoes. No verbal dueling. Even tears of compassion from some usually tough opponents.
Gabby did it. It had been just over year that Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was gunned down in a Tucson, Arizona mall. The head wound she received threatened to end her life, you remember, or, at best, to leave her severely handicapped. And a little over a year after the shooting, she made her way to the floor of the House of Representatives to announce her resignation, for now, so she could concentrate on her continuing recovery. She really is a profile in courage.
For a few bright, shining moments, there was peace on that usually fierce political battlefield. Like most Americans, yeah, I'm getting pretty tired of the mean-spirited, mutually destructive crossfire that's politics today. But that day the tumult turned to tears. And a heartfelt, united tribute to a woman whose courage everyone could agree on.
One Congresswoman, who is the outspoken head of her party's national committee, struggled to get through her emotional remarks. She said, "No matter what we argue about here on this floor or in this country, there is nothing more important than family and friendship that should be held high above everything else." She was supported by speeches from both sides of the aisle. Once again, we saw the amazing power of suffering to clarify what matters; to soften hearts.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "More Powerful Than Politics."
That's important to remember if you're the one who's wounded and hurting and struggling right now. Oh, of course, you'd rather be healthy, or running full speed, or living without the pain or the limitation. But somehow it's our suffering that puts us in our most powerful position to touch hearts and touch lives.
Just look at Jesus. We love His miracles, we live His teachings. But it's His Cross that is, in Charles Spurgeon's word, "that magnificent magnet." In our word for today from the Word of God, John 12:32, Jesus, speaking of His death says, "When I am lifted up...I will draw all men to Myself."
It's true. You know, it doesn't matter where in this world I've spoken, His Cross crosses every culture: Rich or poor, old or young, educated or unschooled, powerful or powerless. It's just hard to resist this God who hung on a cross for us. It is the cross that has conquered hearts around the world for 2,000 years.
And it is your cross that can open hearts that have been closed to your Jesus. That can pull people together who are otherwise at odds. That can help you and those you love revalue your life around the things that really matter, and to marginalize the things that really don't.
If God has sent you a cross to bear; if He's allowed you a cross to bear, He trusts you. At a time of life-threatening persecution, the apostles took joy in the fact that "they had been counted worthy of suffering...for the Name" (Acts 5:41). Did you hear that? Counted worthy. Trusted. And He's promised that He will give you grace equal to the burden (2 Corinthians 12:9). "Sufficient grace" it says, so you can show the world how really amazing His amazing grace is.
Walls go down, hearts open up when you speak from the unarguable platform of your pain. Showing folks a Savior who makes you a conqueror in your crisis does something that, well, your words could never do.
Hard times are His times.