This has been my experience: More often than not, it is not my goodness that leads me to Christ, but my brokenness. It is not my righteousness that leads me to his presence, but my sinfulness. In-fact, it is often after a season of “goodness” that I begin to forget about The One who is the reason for my goodness in the first place. And so I begin to wander. I begin to slip and slide. I begin to trip and fall. In the midst of my mistakes and misplaced desires I come to the all too familiar and vulnerable place where my only option is to cry out, “Help me!”
And it is in this place, this dirty, messy, and often perverted place, that I am embraced by The One who in His own vulnerability hung there naked on the cross, who in His own brokenness, legs broken, and blood vessels bursting, and The One who also cried out for help, “My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me!” but this time He didn’t get the help He desired.
The great irony of the Gospel is that it isn’t our goodness, our righteousness or our perfection that set us free, it’s the vulnerable place our sin and brokenness lead us. The vulnerable place where we finally surrender and cry out, “Jesus, I can’t do this on my own!” And in this place of surrender, we begin to realize The One who defeated Hell on the cross, has been embracing us in His love all along!
In his book Telling the Truth: The Gospel As Tragedy, Comedy, and Fair Tale, Frederick Buechner invites us to consider this vulnerable Jesus:
By the time he had been hanging there for awhile, he had no tears left to weep with and no more sweat, his tongue so dry he could hardly wrap it around the words which are among the few he ever spoke that people remembered in the language he spoke them in probably because having once heard them, they could never forget them no matter how hard they tried, and probably they tried hard and often: “My God, my God, why have you-“ and then the Aramaic verb from an Arabic root meaning to run out on, leave in the lurch, to be the Hell and gone. “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me” (Matt. 27:46). My God, where the Hell are you, meaning If thou art our Father who art in Heaven, be thou also our Father who art in Hell because Hell is where the action is, where I am and the cross is. It is where the pitiless storm is. It is where men labor and are heavy laden under the burden of their own lives without you. Where they cut themselves shaving and smoke three packs a day though they know the surgeon general’s warning by heart. (pp.38-39)
You don’t have to be strong. You don’t have to be right. You don’t even have to be good. But you are invited to be vulnerable. Easter isn’t about working harder, getting stronger, or being better. Easter is about being vulnerable enough to give up and to cry out, “Jesus I surrender! I can’t do this on my own.” And then The One who hung up there naked on the cross , The One who went to hell and back, and The One who defeated death itself opens up his arms and says, “Come to me, you who are weary and heavy burdened. Taste, see, and experience rest. For I am gentle and I am humble. You are my beloved, and with you I am so pleased.”
Buechner, F. (1977). Telling the Truth: The Gospel As Tragedy, Comedy, And Fairy Tale (pp.38-39). New York: HarperOne.