I asked you to consider sitting in the suffering with me. I dared myself and you to not look away but to look at Jesus and the cross. You did it.
So, now what… This is the best part!
This is the best part of knowing Jesus and letting Him know you. This is the best part of understanding that while this world will mean suffering; there’s more because of Jesus.
Now, it’s time to stand. The suffering of the cross is not the end of the story. The end is that we live.
Because of Jesus, we live. Easter was not just Jesus dying on the cross but also His busting open the gates of heaven.
Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, blood, whipping, humiliation AND because of His leaving a tomb empty, going to hell and then sitting next to God the Father in Heaven – because of Jesus we live.
So, now what?
Now, we start living the life we were meant to with purpose, through a promise.
You did it. You were brave enough to look at the cross, to see Jesus suffering. You were brave enough to sit long with your own suffering. It was dark and heavy. That’s enough now. It’s time, you brave and beautiful person.
Stand, knowing you are worthy.
Stand, knowing you are loved.
If you know me, then you know right now I am standing and my arms are louder than my words because this “now what” part is THE BEST part, all because of Jesus.
Because of Jesus; death isn’t the end of the story.
Now there’s hoping.
Now there’s rising.
Now there’s living.
You have purpose you spectacular human being. The way God made you, this world He’s put you in, the pain you’ve been through, may be going through and will go through; He sees the potential for you to rise and live and hope.
ANTICIPATING so hard your calves are sore, LOOKING so hard your eyebrows are high up on your forehead, EXPECTING so much your heart is pumping hard in your chest – that’s what Jesus has done for me.
If the only God you’ve seen is through parts of my story here on this babbling blog, Praise God. But there’s more for YOU.
There’s still more for me too. I think I forgot! You know what looking at the cross did for me? It jogged my memory back through so many pain points AND through more miracles than I can count. I hope you didn’t get stuck on the pain points. It’s time to stand.
After Jesus died, his disciples were alone and scared. Jesus could have stayed up in beautiful, cozy Heaven but He came back. Can we just recognize that? Let it sink in? He came back. John 20:19 sets the scene; “The disciples were gathered together with the doors locked because they feared the Jews. Jesus came and STOOD among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.'” Sometimes, suffering can lock our hearts in fear. If that feels true for you, read that story again.
Let the message be clear, there is a God old and powerful enough to part waters for His people, creative and beautiful enough to push crocuses up through winter’s frozen dirt, loving enough to constantly be on the search for open hearts so He can pull them in close under the shelter of His wing, bold enough to send His one and only Son after you – YOU. Are you clapping yet? It is ridiculously beautiful and generous and true.
To keep us pushing through, I am stealing and paraphrasing this paragraph from Priscilla Shirer’s “Elijah” Bible study (p157).
Lord, I present myself to you. Here I am Lord. I want to walk in step to the rhythm of Your Grace. I want to lean on and depend on the empowerment of Your Spirit. I’m looking for you Lord. Show me how you want me to adjust my life so I can honor you. I pray Your Spirit would consume me. Give strength to my calves and eyebrows and hands as I live in the anticipation and expectation and hope of Jesus. Amen
Before you hit play on this one, turn up volume okay? Let it shock you. Let the words bring you to your feet in gratitude and joy – THIS is life with Jesus.