Sunday, April 24, 2011

Resurrection

I don't think much convincing is needed to make you agree that there is suffering in the world.  Even when the sun is shining and my house is clean and my family is together, like today, you don't have to look far to see all the pain and hurt around us.  Just this morning my sweet friend Niki shared about her mother who is in the midst of a ravenous fight with cancer; and yesterday my friend Libby posted on her blog about a 13 year old girl in Chesapeake who was hit by a car and killed when she went back into the road to get the cell phone she had dropped while crossing.

The Easter story is FULL of suffering.  In fact, for most of my life, I've pictured the pierced and bloody body of Jesus on the cross whenever I think of Easter. (Well, that plus dyed eggs, big hats, & jellybeans - which is a whole other post for another time.)  

 The story of the cross is not a pretty one.  It is scandalous and heart-wrenching. It is about betrayal by the very people who sang His praises and bowed at His feet just a week before.  More than that, it is about MY betrayal. It is about Jesus doing for ME, what I could NEVER do for myself - no matter how many lists or twelve step plans I make. As Niki said today in her testimony, "just the Creator of the Universe sending his son to live among us would have been enough to show his love for us.. But, He went even further..."  Our God KNOWS suffering, and yet he CHOSE to do it to save us.

But...  There is another image that doesn't get nearly enough emphasis in my version of Easter - that of the EMPTY TOMB.  See, God didn't send his only son to simply die on the cross as a "free pass" for us to heaven.   He rose him from the dead three days later --- if it wasn't for that fact, Jesus would have just been any other religious martyr.  

Source
God sent his Son to give us LIFE.  Not just after we die, but RIGHT NOW.  Today.  And, not just on Easter when we wear our Sunday best and remember the Gospel, but the other 364 days a year too.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead! - 1 Peter 1:3

Jesus knows our pain intimately.  He knows because He's been here.  The extent of His pain was real.

Shortly before he died, in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet, not my will, but yours be done" (Luke 23:42). He knew what was coming, and - because he was fully human - he asked the Lord to stop it.  But, ultimately, he knew that God's plan had to be accomplished; because his ways are better than our ways.

Beth Moore says something like this and it rings SO true in my life: So often, when I talk about trusting God, I mean that I trust him to do what I want, to protect me from my greatest fears and to give me the things I hope for... But, that isn't real trust.  Real trust comes in the suffering.  Real trust comes in knowing that, through Jesus, we can have HOPE for a good and full life... Even when the rain comes.

I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. - John 10:10

Easter isn't just about the suffering... It is a celebration of the fact that even DEATH cannot hold back our God.  He is stronger than any stone or struggle.  His gift to us isn't just salvation (although I'm certainly thankful for that too), but LIFE here and now, even in the midst of suffering.

I hope you will find joy and peace in that hope today.

 

For more about what I believe, check out this post from last Easter.

11 comments:

  1. He is risen! Thanks for sharing such encouraging words. :)

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  2. I would sincerely like to be your friend, just so you know. :) If I ever make it to your part of VA I would buy you a cup of something and just chat. I think we would like each other. :)

    Anyway, BEAUTIFUL post. I see the English teacher in your writing; thank you for the wonderful glimpse of Easter.

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  3. So well put! I am thankful we have a God who has walked among us and there isn't anything we experience that He hasn't felt. I wish too that more people would walk with Him not just in suffering or when times are rough, but in good times too. (some only pray when their asking for something--not just to give thanks and praise) And it is His will, not ours. Great post! Thanks for sharing!

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  4. Thanks for sharing encouraging words! He saved us and he will never ever let us down, Let us all celebrate co's it's his birthday.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks for sharing your Easter thoughts. So very true. And so very humbling.

    ReplyDelete
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