As I reflect on Easter, my thoughts wander to what this weekend was like for Jesus' friends and family. They do not know that they are in the darkest hour of the universe's history. They do not know (as we now know) that death is about to be defeated. For now, for them, nothing is right.
They are living with the raw pain of grief. It was only yesterday that the Lord had died. Life has suddenly stopped. They cannot eat; they cannot sleep. They feel as if their hearts are breaking in two. At times it is hard to breathe. How can these things be? Exhaustion fills their souls.
Just as the pain seizes their hearts, questions flood their minds. Why did He have to die? Pilate said he could not find any guilt in Him. And then why did He have to die as a common criminal? And upon a cross? He did no wrong. Yet the crowd was so insistent: crucify Him, crucify Him. And now He is dead. He was the Messiah. But He lies dead.
It is hard to do anything. Nothing seems to matter anymore. The Master and Lord is gone. What now? Their days have been filled with following the Lord. What do they do now? Where do they go? And then another wave of grief sweeps over them. This day feels just as dark as those three hours of darkness when the Lord hung on the cross.
It is hard to leave the story here. I want to rush on to Easter morning. Yet for them, their Saturday was filled with the pain of the Lord's death.
Amazingly their pain was shared by another, by one who understood the depths of their heartache: their Heavenly Father. The Father had to turn His face away from His beloved Son - for He bore my sin as He hung upon the cross.
Saturday, April 9, 2011
After posting yesterday about my desire to follow Jesus, I, of course, receive a severe blow today. ...Breathe deeply; eyes stay fixed on Him... What takes me by surprise and knocks the breathe out of me comes as no surprise to Him. In fact, He had to grant permission for it even to cross my path. I will choose to follow my thoughts of yesterday: I am just going to keep following Him. I will not look to the cliff on the left; I will not look at the dragons on the right. I will keep my eyes on Him. I will allow Him to fight the battle. I will follow where He leads - even through this valley. His invitation still reads, "Follow Me."
Thursday, April 7, 2011
I want to live in a way that is best described by Jesus' statement to his disciples, "Follow Me." I want to follow Jesus throughout my day - in the ordinary aspects, in the surprises, in the curve balls. I want to follow Jesus in my relationships - with my family, with my friends, with my coworkers. I want to follow Jesus as I work, and rest, and play. If I am following Jesus, I don't have to worry about where I am headed; I just need to follow the One in front of me. If I am following Jesus, I don't have to determine the way out of difficulties; I just need to follow the One who guides me. If I am following Jesus, I don't have to know the future; I just have to follow the One who holds it. Following Jesus makes life simpler. It provides great security. It allows me to live each moment, treasure each relationship, knowing that He who is faithful is holding all things together. Thank you, Jesus.