Holy Anguish

I was watching the Cornerstone Church podcast from September 13th, 2009 and Francis Chan quoted a verse that has been haunting me ever since. It was Romans 9:1-4 and I have read it many times before, but never really paid attention to what it said. This is what it says…

I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit—I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race, the people of Israel.

Paul is saying that we need to have so much love for our neighbors that we wouldn’t care if we were eternally separated from Christ, which is exactly what hell is, as long as they were able to connect with God and have a relationship with Him. Sure we can say that we are trying to love God and love others, but are we willing to take that “loving others” to that kind of an extreme? Do we even ask God to give us the kind of sorrow and unceasing anguish that Paul talks about here?

I love my family very much and I would do anything for them. However, I have to be honest that I don’t know if I would go to the point of saying that I would rather be cut off from Christ for their sake if it was necessary. That is pretty hardcore. That is one of those things, as Francis said in his message, that I am not sure if I could ever attain. That is the kind of love that Jesus pretty much had for us. That is intense.

Every time I read that passage lately or even think about it I am pretty much brought to tears. It is such an overwhelming thought and quite honestly it is a place that I would like to find myself moving towards. I think that if the church would grasp that kind of love for others then we would really see revival happen in this country. However, I can’t worry about what other people are doing. I can only worry about my response to this.

I am a follower of Jesus, a husband to Kim, father to Hannah & Caleb, and the connections pastor at The River Church. The thoughts expressed here are my own and not The River Church's.

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