Tag Archives: crucifixion

When Curiosity Strikes

When curiosity strikes we have the opportunity to share. Today, while working with one of the volunteers, she, out of the blue, asked, “What is Easter? I mean, I see all the bunnies and eggs, but why do people celebrate it?” Oh boy! I think many of us, including myself, tend to assume that everyone in the U.S. knows why we celebrate Easter and Christmas, but it’s just not true. There are many people, especially those of other cultures or faiths that don’t know the true meaning of Easter.

After she asked this I perked up. Okay, I gotta get ready to shine! I want to really tell it the way God would want me to, so I explained that the bunnies and the eggs don’t really have anything to do with the true meaning of Easter. It involves something much more mysterious, much more exciting. Easter celebrates the resurrection, the rising from the dead, of the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who is also part of the three-part God. He was sent here as a final sacrifice for forgiveness of the sins of everyone. In the past people had to individually kill and burn/sacrifice flawless, first born animals to atone for their sins, but not anymore. That is why Jesus died, and that is why Good Friday is celebrated. It is good because that is when our sins were forgiven. The resurrection was to fulfill a prophesy. He said He would rise and He did, proving His love and integrity.

She looked amazed, “Wow, I thought it was all about eggs and bunnies!” Suddenly we had not just shared a task of updating the grief resource list, but we had shared the gospel. What a privilege to see her face light up as she heard it for the first time.

Oh merciful Father, I thank you for the grace you show me each day. Thank you for sending your Son to die on that cross, and thank you for rising again, not only to fulfill a prophesy, but to give me hope for new life, a spiritual resurrection of my own. Sometimes it’s difficult to remember that we are forgiven and free. Sometimes we remember it in our mind but not in our spirit. Help us to be reassured and comforted, and to speak your truth even in the midst of fear and doubt and frustration. When we are weak, you make us strong. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Shrinking from Suffering

As Jesus hangs almost lifeless on the cross he finds the strength to say “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” You see, no one likes suffering, including Jesus. It is part of our human nature to shrink away from suffering, but what we forget in the suffering is that we often experience God’s grace and love most when we have experienced such oppression.

Recently a family member of mine underwent what she thought was minor surgery, but what has followed has been more suffering than the symptoms the surgery was supposed to alleviate. Now, I am confident that after the suffering will come great healing, which will completely wipe away the past pain and discomfort, but in this time of pain and unrest it is hard to keep the focus on what is yet to come. There is no doubt in my mind that my family member is going through a rollercoaster of emotions and wondering if she should have bypassed the surgery for a less invasive solution, but there’s no denying that when she was trying to decide on whether to have it or not, God spoke to her in a very clear way.

When she found out the cost of the procedure she realized it would not be feasible, but it seemed as if it was necessary for quality of life so she did what any good Christian should do, and she asked God for His will be done. The next day she received a call from a client offering her a raise and more hours. All of a sudden, impossible seemed Himpossible. The decision was made just like that, but when we are in pain and suffering doubt often grows in our hearts and minds.

Here’s the difference between the thoughts of you and I and the thoughts of Jesus. Jesus said, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Often we catch ourselves saying, “There is no god that would allow this pain.” Or, “God has forgotten about me.” Or lastly, “God doesn’t really know what is right for me.” These all point to our disowning God and our total independence. Jesus said, “My God.” “My” being possessive means that Jesus was still clinging to the fact that God was his for the taking, while we often consider him “chop liver” if things don’t go our way. Jesus asks God to reveal to him the reason for this forsaking, while we often say the only explanation is we are forgotten or god is non-existent.

Fortunately my family member has a close relationship with the Father, and she is now quickly recovering, on her way to renewal of faith and renewal of body. I pray that each of us can learn to embrace God and seek understanding in our suffering just as Jesus did. We don’t understand suffering and we feel forsaken, but God brings healing every step of the way whether we acknowledge it or not.

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