Wednesday, March 23, 2016
Here we are in the midst of Holy Week, the week Christians remember the central event of all history, the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus the Messiah. That brief segment of time, a mere week, changed the world forever in a way that nothing else ever could. Last week, during worship, we considered the stories of Holy Week, observing that a close reading of the individuals described in the stories illustrates that no matter what we are experiencing, feeling or thinking, there was somebody in those stories to whom we can relate, and who set an example for us, some bad examples and some good examples. It certainly provides a powerful paradigm for those facing the vicissitudes of divorce.
As we read the stories of Holy Week, we encounter individuals who were fearful, individuals whose future was jeopardized, individuals who experienced great hope only to find it dashed to the ground, and then there are those who are energized, renewed and find new meaning in life, a new meaning that can only be described through the power of resurrection!
If during this Holy Week you find yourself caught up in tough times, especially the tough times of divorce, I encourage you to find yourself in the stories, and make sure that you see it through to the end. Perhaps the Easter resurrection will manifest itself in your life through the wonder of a marriage restored, reenergized and filled with new life. On the other hand, perhaps your divorce journey will go through the dark days where the rays of the sun are blocked by darkness ending with the darkness of the grave for a marriage long dead. But on the other side, you can trust that God’s resurrection power can lead you to a new life that is unimaginable in the days of darkness. Even though you have struggled through the agonizing loss of a marriage, that does not mean God is not done with your life, nor does it mean that he no longer plans great things for your life. It just means you have to wait, trust and hope for the power of the resurrection to flood into your life in ways that are as unbelievable as a crucified Messiah rising from the dead to bring sinners like us into eternal glory!
Hang on! Resurrection comes to those who trust and wait.
Sunday, March 13, 2016
In front of my house, where the walk comes to the porch, a border of purple crocus have already blossomed and gone. I remember the day I first walked down the stairs in the front hall and through the front window saw the little blossoms smiling brightly. That is one of my favorite signs of a new, warmer season. Since that day, daffodils and jonquils have opened their blossoms, with tulips and surprise lilies working their way up as well. A new season.
Is the season changing in your life? After the trauma of divorce, a day comes when you start smiling again, or wake up thinking to yourself that it’s going to be okay. When someone retires, their live undergoes dramatic shift in daily schedules and priorities shift into a new structure. Illness, marriage, birth of a child, job change or graduation are other signs of a life season changing. Are there such signs in your life these days?
I remember once a good friend who had gone through a dark time in his life, and then one day he woke up in the morning and moved to a new life chapter, with a sense that he had turned a page in his life somehow. He wasn’t able to identify what made the difference, only that he experienced a change and the start of something fresh.
Life is always changing. Some times in life are extremely difficult or stressful. Other times are filled with joy and fun. I have learned in life that it does no good to wish for last spring, or the fun I had last summer. But I can use the memory of last spring’s beauty to give me hope as I look forward to the spring yet to come.
My divorce devotionals are built around this very notion of seasons in life, seasons that can easily be identified in the process of going through a divorce and its aftermath. In the darkest days, it is difficult to remember when things were good, or believe that they ever will be good again. But everything in life comes but for a season.
Easter is at the heart of spring, with the promise not only of a future, but of resurrection and future eternal through the promise of Him who was the first raised from the dead. Whatever season you are now experiencing in life, I encourage you to not only remember the joy of seasons past, but develop the habit of taking a long view, looking to the promise of the day when we wake up to find everything changed forever, as the new day dawns with Christ on the throne right before our very eyes and our bodies transformed by the radiance of His glory!