Saturday, March 30, 2013

Embrace the Cross (Part 2)

When I titled my last post (Part 1), I had a particular idea in mind for what to write next. While I still hope to share some of those things later, it seemed that this post needed to go in a different direction, and today (Saturday, the day before Easter) would be the perfect day to write it.

When we think about the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we can easily jump from one to the other without giving much pause to the day in between. Today is the perfect day to do just that, but it really has so much application for our lives in so many areas, not just today.

My mind and heart have been drawn to how those who loved Jesus must have felt after he was crucified and buried. Their lives had completely changed when they began to follow Him. They saw miracles, signs, and wonders beyond what they could ever have imagined. They knew there was no one like Him, and they truly believed He was the Christ, the Anointed One, the Son of God.

But after seeing him beaten and hanging on the cross, so many of their hopes and dreams must have died with Him that Friday. And imagine the depth of hopelessness and despair that was settling in by Saturday. Think of all the questions, the doubts, the fears. Couldn't God have stopped this? Were we wrong all along in following Him? But what about the other miracles? What do we do now? The list could go on and on.

They didn't realize that in the midst of the most hopeless-looking scenario they could ever imagine, God was already working a bigger miracle than they could ever begin to hope or even think to ask for. The plan was still in place. Nothing had thrown it off. God was still in control. And their minds were about to be blown like never before.

The thing is, Jesus had told them ahead of time what would happen, but they didn't get it. They couldn't comprehend what He meant when He said, "The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised to life." (Matthew 17:22b-23a)  They were grieved on hearing those statements, but they really had no idea what would happen. They didn't understand His words enough to hold on to that hope after the devastation of the cross.

How often do we find ourselves in situations where we can relate? He tells us ahead of time. He gives us His promises. But sometimes it can be hard to fully take them in.

  • "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28)  We know this. . . But do we really take in that it includes ALL things, even this thing? (And my "this thing" could be different from what you would guess. And your "this thing" could be different from what I would ever guess...)

  • "For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all." (2 Corinthians 4:17)  Can we begin to fathom this glory that will eclipse all our afflictions? (Now I'm thinking of that line in the song, "How He Loves". . . Ah, love that song!)

  • And Jesus said-- "I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)

Truly He has overcome. The celebrations and focus of this weekend always stir my heart. But the fact that He has overcome can allow us to take heart every day. In all our "Saturdays" where waiting and not understanding can start to weigh heavy, we can still trust and "wait in hope" for the Lord, for the One who brings the miracle of Sunday, for the One who already has a plan, for the One who is still working in everything, and working for our good.

Sunday is coming! We will praise Him then, and we can praise and thank Him now. He is worthy!

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