Well, I know that I have been very sporadic in blogs lately, and offer some degree of apology for that. However, our flood relief efforts have been extremely time consuming and valuable. Many people who have been really struggling have experienced hope because someone gave them a pair of rubber boots from our supply to wear when they were cleaning out the mud, or because we helped purchase some needed items as flood victims try to put their lives back together. But it has been a very scurrying and taxing effort on our part. As I said to some of my parishioners one day, it isn’t like we can sit back and have some committee meetings to work out all the details of a perfect plan, because people are hungry NOW, people have nowhere to live NOW, people are trying to get the mud out of their homes NOW. So we have met as we could, planned as we could, and then just worked hard to do the best we could, and I would say I am proud of what the difference we have been able to make, made possible only through the hard work of our people and the generosity of others who have given funds and goods for us to be able to distribute.
I just can’t let Holy Week pass, though, without at least a word to my readers. I believe in the power, the promise and the hope of resurrection…not only into the eternal sphere after death, but even here. When life knocks us for a loop, when our plans shatter, when our hope is dashed and we feel like we can’t go on, when problems arise that appear insurmountable and life takes a sudden downward turn, THAT is the time to remember the promise of the resurrection.
When God is part of our lives and planning, defeat and despair never have the final word. God turned an ugly instrument of torture and execution into a symbol elevated on church steeples and adorned to be worn around our necks because it became the instrument by which God won our forgiveness and salvation, that same God can bring new life and promise out of whatever circumstances have left you broken, confused and despairing. I cannot tell you how many times I have visited with Christians who have experienced divorce and then years later are able to describe all the ways God used that changepoint in life to open new doors and opportunities, to create new and better relationships, or even to help those individuals turn to God in a deeper way than they had ever experienced before. And that is just one of the shattering events life can bring, but which God can use anyway.
Resurrection speaks of the promise of tomorrow. Resurrection speaks of a God who is bigger than whatever problem you face. Resurrection speaks of a hope that mourning may be turned into dancing and joy will come in the morning.
I know it’s Good Friday, the day we remember the ugliness and awfulness of the painful death of Christ upon the cross. It was OUR sins that he was dying for…it should have been us there, not him! But even though this is the day we remember the crucifixion, I want to urge you to realize something in the midst of it: if there had not been a death on the cross, there would have been no opportunity for a resurrection on Easter morning.
Whatever hard and awful thing you struggle with in your life, no matter how hard and awful it is, it brings with it an opportunity for God to provide a resurrection of your own as he does something good, something fresh, something powerful on the other side of the struggle BECAUSE you went through the struggle, and you went through it with him at your side.
Remember the Lord’s suffering today, remember the promise of resurrection, and rejoice in the hope that is yours for resurrection beyond the troubles of today! Happy Easter!