We’ve been in a season recently of mountains not moved, waters not parted, prayers not answered. I know that sounds kind of negative, but it’s real life. It’s how we feel. We would have liked to have been spared so much illness this winter. We would have liked to hear that I did not have a stroke for real. We would have liked things to go better with issues at my husband’s job. We would have liked for our extended family members not to deal with difficult health problems. I’ve asked; I’ve pleaded; I’ve prayed. But the no’s have kept on comin’.
Hidden away in my house full of sickness, it was easy for me to get inside my own head, to feel sorry for myself. My isolation has allowed the enemy a lot of room to whisper lies to me, and, unfortunately, I’ve allowed it. Invisible. Unimportant. Dispensable. Overlooked. Failure. Sad, sad, sad.
But here comes Easter, and all I can think about is the cross.
Particularly as Good Friday came and went, my mind dwelt on how final the cross must have seemed to Jesus’ followers. Talk about a sea not parted! Jesus’ followers were anticipating him entering Jerusalem to overthrow the government, to become the king. Instead, he was crucified. To say it felt like a loss is, I’m sure, an extreme understatement.
But then came Sunday, the resurrection. Even as the disciples found Jesus’ tomb empty and saw his resurrected body, I wonder if they fully understood the implications of what had happened. What appeared to be the darkest hour was actually the working out of our salvation. When things looked worst, God was actually going about saving the world. It’s astounding! And it brings perspective. Maybe in these dark moments, God is about the business of saving my soul.
One of my all-time favorite worship songs is “Lead Me to the Cross” because it fixes my mind’s eye back on that cross, even when we’re not in the Easter season. It reminds me that all those sad, sad feelings I so often give in to, they’re not where I’m meant to live. Instead my heart beats: “Lead me to the cross, where your love poured out. Bring me to my knees, Lord, I lay me down. Rid me of myself, I belong to you.”
Bring me to my knees … Rid me of myself, I belong to you. None of this is about me. It’s about God, his kingdom, his glory, his plan. Compared to the cross, my darker moments seem like nothing. Because of the cross, my darker moments are actually nothing. In truth, because of what Jesus did, my soul is secure, and nothing that happens on this earth can change that.
One of my former students, Caity, who passed away at just 17 years old had a favorite quote that went like this: “It will all be ok in the end. If it’s not ok, then it’s not the end.” She was wise beyond her years. And she was so right. Life is pretty messed up sometimes, but that doesn’t change our ending. And when it is truly the end, it will truly all be ok. I have thought about that quote so many times since her passing nearly 5 years ago, and like “Lead Me to the Cross,” it restores my perspective. Everything on this earth is temporary. There’s another kingdom that I’m living for. And it’s all because of the cross. I’m so thankful this Easter for the truth that puts it all in perspective, that kicks me out of my sad, sad sorry place, and reminds me of the end, my hope, my future.