The last couple of weeks have been such that, pretty much every day, I wanted to pull the covers over my head and hope the world just goes away. I figuratively just curled up in a corner and waited for life to stop kicking me. *Sigh* The old saying goes, “Momma told me there’d be days like this, she just didn’t tell me there’d be this many in a row…” I didn’t even really check in on the blog for a while. Woof, what a couple of weeks!
Bad couple of weeks not withstanding, Easter presents a good time of year for reflection. And this is what I have done for about the past week.
It started with me reading Oswald Chambers’ “My Utmost for His Highest” April 6th entry. I quote it here:
Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree. — 1 Peter 2:24
The Cross of Jesus is the revelation of God’s judgment on sin. Never tolerate the idea of martyrdom about the Cross of Jesus Christ. The Cross was a superb triumph in which the foundations of hell were shaken. There is nothing more certain in Time or Eternity than what Jesus Christ did on the Cross: He switched the whole of the human race back into a right relationship with God. He made Redemption the basis of human life, that is, He made a way for every son of man to get into communion with God.
The Cross did not happen to Jesus: He came on purpose for it. He is “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” The whole meaning of the Incarnation is the Cross. Beware of separating God manifest in the flesh from the Son becoming sin. The Incarnation was for the purpose of Redemption. God became incarnate for the purpose of putting away sin; not for the purpose of Self-realization. The Cross is the centre of Time and of Eternity, the answer to the enigmas of both.
The Cross is not the cross of a man but the Cross of God, and the Cross of God can never be realized in human experience. The Cross is the exhibition of the nature of God, the gateway whereby any individual of the human race can enter into union with God. When we get to the Cross, we do not go through it; we abide in the life to which the Cross is the gateway.
The centre of salvation is the Cross of Jesus, and the reason it is so easy to obtain salvation is because it cost God so much. The Cross is the point where God and sinful man merge with a crash and the way to life is opened – but the crash is on the heart of God.
I had never before entertained the notion that Christ on the Cross was not just a dreadful experience that should horrify. It is God’s “superb triumph in which the foundations of hell were shaken.” I have always looked at the cross in sorrow, which I think is appropriate, since I understand that it is my sin which necessitated Jesus’ sacrifice. However, I never viewed it as the triumph that it is. Sin and death crushed forever in one action! I have for a long while prayed from time to time something like, “Father, I am so sorry that Jesus had to suffer for my actions, my sins, but thank you so much that He did.” And again, I think that appropriate. But I never before considered what a thunderous victory this was! This was the cosmic equivalent of the climactic moments of the biggest event one can think of: one that I should be jumping in the air with my fists pumping screaming, “YEAH!!!!!” at the top of my lungs. My team wins the Super Bowl (or the Steelers lose)? That’s nothing. You should see me hopping around the room, screaming with pure, unadulterated joy, whooping and dancing around with a savage ecstasy. A Super Bowl? That’s nothing compared to what Christ accomplished in one day on Calvary. I should forever be celebrating at the top of my lungs at the victory accomplished by Jesus. And that is an unbelievably cool thought to me.
At our church’s Good Friday service, our pastor, Bob Klecan, quoted Dwight L. Moody as saying, “Someday you will read in the papers that Moody is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it. At that moment I shall be more alive than I am now…” Now that’s a very cool thought! Again, I have for years believed in the afterlife, but I’m not sure I thought of it as it actually is. At that final heartbeat when I leave this existence, at the split second that I “die,” at that exact moment I will be who I was meant to be from the beginning of time. My entire life thus far has been in the shadow world. It is only as I step into eternity that I will, for the first time, see reality.
We also at the same service reflected on the Cross of Christ, and what it meant to each of us; what did it mean to me on a personal level, what did I see as the most significant gift that I received from Christ’s sacrifice on the cross (at least that is my interpretation of Pastor Bob’s challenge). We then had the opportunity to write down out thoughts and leave them at the foot of the cross. I, however, wrote down my thoughts but did not leave them there. I thought they would fit well into this post and brought them home. Addressing my thoughts to God I wrote: “Thank you for giving me the ability, the possibility of living above my human-ness. I can live outside of myself, through the grace of God. I can be more than I could otherwise be. I don’t have to live focused on my needs, but can live focused on God.” And it is only through my dependence on God and his work in my life that I have any hope at all of living a life that is different from hedonism. Apart from God’s love, I doubt that one person in a million (I’m being generous here) can truly change their life to be a life that is sacrificial, others oriented, “good.” I know that I have not come close to arriving at my goal, but I am so far from where I was. My goal is to be like Christ. And boy, does God have a lot of work to do…
I know that many would say to me that it’s good that I have this belief in God, since I need it. However, they would likely say that they have no such need and/or doubt that God exists. I would answer that by saying that this is not driven by a need of mine. I could honestly live a self-focused life quite nicely, thank you very much. I could live for pleasure now, and expect the oblivion of death when that time comes. But I choose to not live that life. I choose to believe the promises of God as presented in the Bible, giving myself freely to Him, and to seek to live a life based solely on the completed work of Jesus. I live in gratitude to Him for accomplishing what I could not: my reconciliation to God, and a life that can change. What a Gift! What potential for my life here and now, and not just a potential for gain at the end of this life! With all of this that God has done, how can I not be grateful?
So these have been the things upon which I have reflected the past week or so. Huh! I guess it wasn’t such a bad week after all…