We wait for nine months to hold that little person growing inside us. We wait for them to learn to crawl, walk, talk and read. And then we wait to pick them up at school, for piano and dance lessons to be over and ball practice to end.
As long as our children are with us, we are always waiting for something.
We never expect to be waiting to join them in heaven.
If there is anywhere on earth a lover of God who is always kept safe, I know nothing of it, for it was not shown to me. But this was shown: that in falling and rising again we are always kept in that same precious love.
On the one hand Death is the triumph of Satan, the punishment of the Fall, and the last enemy. Christ shed tears at the grave of Lazarus and sweated blood in Gethsemane: the Life of Lives that was in Him detested this penal obscenity not less than we do, but more. On the other hand, only he who loses his life will save it. We are baptized into the death of Christ, and it is the remedy for the Fall.
Death is, in fact, what some modern people call “ambivalent.” It is Satan’s great weapon and also God’s great weapon: it is holy and unholy; our supreme disgrace and our only hope; the thing Christ came to conquer and the means by which He conquered.
~C.S. Lewis, Miracles
Bury a child and suddenly the death of Christ becomes oh, so personal.
The image of Mary at the foot of the cross is too hard to bear.
We began this journey forty days ago with the idea “Decrease is only holy when its destination is love” (Alicia Britt Chole).
The aim of Lent or any other period of fasting or self-denial is not to thin our waists but to thin our self-reliance and our self-importance to make room for the power and sustaining grace of Jesus-to open our hearts and our souls to His love.
When I force myself to face my own helplessness to sweep away sin, sift through selfishness and sort out bad habits and unholy thoughts I realize how utterly dependent I am on the work Christ wrought on the cross.
Listen, I can’t explain my actions. Here’s why: I am not able to do the things I want; and at the same time, I do the things I despise. 16 If I am doing the things I have already decided not to do, I am agreeing with the law regarding what is good. 17 But now I am no longer the one acting—I’ve lost control—sin has taken up residence in me and is wreaking havoc.18 I know that in me, that is, in my fallen human nature, there is nothing good. I can will myself to do something good, but that does not help me carry it out. 19 I can determine that I am going to do good, but I don’t do it; instead, I end up living out the evil that I decided not to do.
Romans 7: 15-19 VOICE
So today I am celebrating the fact-the historical, spiritual and eternalFACT-that everything necessary for life and liberty and hope and eternal salvation has been accomplished.
Christ has died.
Christ has risen.
Christ will come again.
Dominic is dead. His body lies a mile down the road and six feet under the earth.
But that’s not the end of his story.
His spirit is alive with Christ and one day his body will be resurrected in glory.
And one day-one glorious Day-“every sad thing will come untrue” (Child’s Storybook Bible).
I’ve written at length in this space regarding my conviction that denying pain diminishes the power of the cross.
If death isn’t awful, if life in this fallen world isn’t full of sorrow, if eternal separation from God is not Hell then why the cross?
Right here, in the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus acknowledges the terrible cost of salvation, of redemption, of restoration:
Only Jesus, the Father, and the Holy Spirit understood the unspeakable cost Jesus would pay for our sins to be forgiven. Under the crushing weight of all that was to come, Jesus offered variations of the same prayer three times: ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will but as You will.’
Alicia Britt Chole
God created me with emotions.
They are not “bad” or “good”, they simply “are”. What I do with them and whether I allow them to steer my actions is another matter.
I can make a choice to bring my feelings to the Father and allow Him to fill me with strength so I can submit to His will even when it’s not easy or painless.
Note that Jesus did not try to deny His emotions in the garden but instead expressed them honestly, respectfully, and repeatedly…Honesty is of intimacy with God and, conversely, denial is an enemy of intimacy with God….From Jesus’ example, it is clear that a misalignment between our desires and God’s will is not sin. Jesus was victorious not because He lacked uncooperative feelings but because He affirmed and reaffirmed His commitment to honor Father’s will above His emotions.
Alicia Britt Chole
What cup would you rathernot drink?
Ask the Father to help you bring those feelings to the Throne of Grace so that you can receive help in your time of need.
**As promised, I am sharing thoughts on 40 DAYS OF DECREASE (a Lenten journal/devotional). If you choose to get and use the book yourself, I’ll be a day behind in sharing so as not to influence anyone else’s experience.**