Monday, April 22, 2019

Where do I Fit in the Easter Story

Easter is a time of reflection in many ways. For me, the story of Easter has several powerful messages and examples of people who demonstrate great faith as well as crushing unbelief. 

Jesus is the focus of Easter. There is redemptive hope found in the actions of Jesus. He's the one who gave his life for all of us born into sin. Jesus embraced the call on his life. He died a gruesome death for the love of us. He is THE story.  

Then there's Peter. We all know what Peter did. Peter told Jesus he would follow him no matter what but ended up denying him three times, as predicted. Some can see how Peter caved under the pressure of the situation around him. Others wonder how Peter could deny Jesus after witnessing a multitude of miracles. Peter is a remarkable a figure and shows how diverse the reactions of the followers of Jesus were.  

Of course, we have to mention Judas being that he was one of the 12 disciples too. Judas saw the miracles of Jesus, yet evil entered his heart somehow. He turned Jesus over to his enemies for money after everything he saw Jesus accomplish. Judas is a reminder that being close to Jesus doesn't mean anything unless we fully commit our lives to him.

There's more pivotal people that are worth mentioning but for time's sake I will stop there.

As I was reviewing the story of Easter this year, I had to pause and wonder where I fit. Who am I most like in this story?

Then it became clear to me who I have been in the past. I have been chief among the mockers.

Scripture tells us that soldiers mocked Jesus by saying, "If you are the King of the Jews, save Yourself." (Luke 23 NKJV) Other people were recorded saying, "He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ, the chosen of God."

Those mocking Jesus couldn't understand what was happening. They couldn't comprehend Jesus choosing that path. Sometimes, God's intervention doesn't look like what we picture. God may not move how we anticipate.

When reflecting on Easter, I surmise that I would have been one of those people wondering if Jesus really was God's son, because he was enduring a horrible death. Surely God's goodness would spare his son the pain? Can God's love be found in the middle of such suffering? A grand display of power in the form of suddenly destroying those who were hurting Jesus would have been just as effective, right?

Yes, I would have been one of those hecklers. Perhaps, I would not have openly shouted something to the crowd, but I would have been thinking it. I know this because I have had those thoughts too many times in my life as a parent.

I have stood by my daughter's hospital bed and been bombarded with thoughts such as:
There's no way God could be with us. If God were here, my daughter wouldn't need all these machines and tubes to stay alive. God would spare my daughter of all of this. 

If God cared about my family, we wouldn't be dealing with this situation now. 

Surely all this suffering isn't part of God's plan.

I struggled for years to find God's mercy when my daughter's situation seemed mercilessness. Several surgeries, diagnoses, and health scares meant that I had every question and doubt possible enter my mind. I rarely voiced them aloud but my mind was full of them.

I'm not sure if those mocking Jesus ever realized how wrong they were. However, I realized how wrong I was.

I knew I needed a renewed mind when trying to find God in my daughter's medical situations. Of all the characters in my own storyline, the role of heckler is not doing any good. I need a voice of faith resounding through my situations. I need affirmations and reassurances. I don't need questions. I don't need to be my own worst enemy providing the mocking statements.

Thankfully, I have learned to recognize my doubts. God has given me the grace and ability to go through situations with my daughter without emotionally trying to figure out why they are happening.

As another Easter celebration passes, I thank God that I don't have to be a mocking unbeliever anymore. I know who God is. I know what His love looks like- even in the hospital. I know what His goodness looks like too- even if my daughter is deathly sick. What about you? 

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