I’ve been thinking about this most sacred weekend for a while now. Thoughts about Christ swirling around in my head. I’ve been reading Scripture and wanted to write about the moments preceding His death, the actual day it occurred or the space in between the day of death and the rise of victory…the time frame where hearts must have been intensely heavy and time seemed to stop. I wanted to write about what the men and women must have felt like. I wanted to embrace the Sunday! The day where hearts burst forth in hope and amazement. Where the men and women who loved Him could breathe again. When life was restored to color, and days once again, became beautiful!
It’s always the “middle” of anything that seems so hard. The place where we have a choice: to smell death and feel the weight of defeat or to believe in the victory that is on its way. Yes, these were some of my initial thoughts that I scribbled on my notepad. But then I felt a yearning in my soul…you know, the kind that fills you with gratitude to the point where you have a lump in your throat and unexpected tears cover your eyes and roll down your cheeks. The happy tears of thankfulness and awe. Yes, that is what I want to share this weekend.
Jesus…where do I start? How do I even begin to thank Him? My words fail me. A string of letters in an effort to explain my gratitude seem so inadequate. So, I will attempt to celebrate just a tiny portion of how much this man who died on Calvary thousands of years ago and then rose just 3 days later has managed to captivate my heart and allure me to allegiance to Him and Him alone. A list of thank you’s is all I have and I pray it may remind you of His goodness and how very alive He is.
To My Savior,
As I think of you right now and what it must have been like. I have so very little to offer you in thanks other than my life…other than my words of adoration. So, here it is Father….
Thank you…thank you for pursuing me at a little age, when days were uncertain and nighttime was scary. When you knew what I was enduring and you began to plant a seed in my heart that assured me that You were listening. I knew You were there. I learned to call out to you, Abba…Father.
Thank you for allowing me to fall on my face in order for me to realize that I had been living under an illusion of independence. You revealed to me my desperate need for a Savior…not just to rescue me from my sins, but to save me from myself.
Thank you for drawing me near and asking me, “why I proclaimed that You were alive while I lived as if You were dead.” You made me wonder why I was still living as if it was Good Friday or even the Saturday in-between…. The days more characterized by fear and uncertainty, as if You remained in the tomb.
Thank you for Your gentle yet bold confrontation of my idolatry…of how I declared one thing, but lived for another, worshipping You with words but living for the world.
“Even while these people were worshipping the Lord, they were serving their idols. To this day their children and grandchildren continue to do as their fathers did.” 2 Kings 17:41
Thank you for reminding me that teaching my children religion and tradition has no promise of freedom nor does it pose a threat to the enemy. It is when we teach and show them the beauty of praising “Hosanna” and letting Him release them from the grips of darkness and teach them how to die to self, so that we finally taste the first morsel of freedom and experience Your astonishing glory. Oh, how the little ones are watching to see what is real.
“But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things He did and the children shouting in the temple courts, “Hosanna, to the Son of David,” they were indignant! “Do you hear what the children are saying, they asked him. “Yes,” Jesus replied, “have you never read, “From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth Your praise.” Matt. 21:15-16
Yes, the threat was real… why were they so afraid of precious children praising Jesus outspoken and unashamed? Because, they were THE NEXT GENERATION! For if we raise children who only know religion and tradition then we are not raising Christ followers, but rule followers. If we take them to church, but remain silent about Him throughout the week, what might little ones conclude? Silence can be an indication of unbelief as well as shame. These children mentioned in Matthew were outspoken! Oh, God, may we raise the next generation to know Hosanna! The Savior of the world who so moves within us that we cannot remain silent! You are so worthy! Thank you for so impacting my life that I can no longer remain silent!
Thank you for allowing me to experience the rejection of others so that I would learn that my value could not be found in their approval. I learned to come to you and embrace what Your words said about me. I learned to listen to You and what You called me to. For following Christ leads to security, purpose and unshakable worth.
Thank you for coming and walking the dusty roads of Jerusalem, experiencing both the joys and sorrows of this life. Enduring both good and shallow friendships- ones that walked with you because of you versus the ones that wanted you for only what you could give them. Thank you for modeling how to handle rejection and betrayal. Thank you for teaching on mercy and forgiveness and showing us the sacrifice and trust involved in that. Thank you for your revelation and how you teach us to look beyond what the eyes can see and discern with the Spirit. You are God who loved us so much that You came down to us…you did not ask us to rise to You. In a world that screams do more; perform more; be more, You took us just as we were and loved us enough to gently teach us truth and empower us to conform to your beautiful holiness. Thank you for stepping out of the heavens to enter our mess and call us to your side. Thank you for coming to us, Father.
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with out weakness, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet He did not sin.” Heb. 4:15
Thank you for forgiving me for the incredible pains of my past. All the messes I have made, all the sins I have committed. You freed from that guilt and covered those days with grace, allowing me to still remember them, not for shame but for protection. To also keep our hearts soft with mercy because we know how easy it is to fall into the trap of sin.
Thank you for the crazy, fun and miraculous things you do that shock me and leave me stunned. Literally, jaw dropped…how did that happen? You love to surprise me and remind me of just how close you really are! Miracles occur in all shapes and sizes. We shouldn’t just look for them in a one dimensional way!
Thank you for forgiving me for all the multiple times I fail. The times I throw beautiful pity parties, open my mouth when I should keep it closed or simply fail to follow through in areas of obedience. Thank you that you remind me that your discipline is not always pleasant, but implemented to produce a harvest of righteousness and peace in my life (Heb. 12:11). For you are a good, good Father.
Thank you that you define success NOT by how perfectly I think I have done something, rather how obedient I was in carrying out what you called me to.
As I prepare to open the Scriptures, thank you for giving me a thirst for them. Thank you for showing me just how powerful they are IF I will believe them! Thank you for introducing Psalm 119 to me and teaching me to savor each Word it said. You know, Jesus, it changed my life.
Father, this doesn’t begin to touch all that you have taught me and done in my life. Easter to me is not only a celebration of the greatest sacrifice for mankind, but also a time to rejoice that you are so very ALIVE. For I do not “think” this, I KNOW IT!!!
“The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified He is not here; HE HAS RISEN, just as He said…Go quickly and tell the disciples.” Matt. 28:5-7
Your servant and Your daughter,