It’s Good Friday.
I meet this day every year the exact same way. Maybe it’s just the irony in timing, as the date falls on the calendar or maybe God is directly closing the door on my winter drought to prepare for the harvest & bloom of the summer growth. Who knows?
Regardless, I reach this observation week(end) with skint up heart knees & an empty basket needing filled back up with His fruit, not prizes & candy conforming to the commercialism of this divine moment that changed humanity.
“How can such a terrible day in history be GOOD?” -asks so many. I often asked that question as well, before this Holy week wasn’t just another occasion. When the scriptures weren’t just repeated words & a lovely sermon. When Easter, Pascha, wasn’t new, itchy clothes, a Sunday ham dinner & hunting for eggs.
It became real to me 6 years ago when I opened my soul door & allowed myself to be emptied, rescued & filled again. When I finally got it. Right here in my living room. Face in the carpet, Cheerio stuck to a wet cheek- I finally understood.
I was saved at 5 years old, baptized as well. I have no recollection of the date or even the moment I said, “I believe.” I do faintly remember the baptism. Obviously, the acceptance of Jesus wasn’t as impactful as the accepting Him again when I was teetering on the edge of 37 years old.
One acceptance came out of Sunday School mimicked behavior- the other acceptance came as a matter of life or death.
Do I feel accepting Jesus when I was the age of my daughter now, meant anything, since I lacked spiritual maturity? Absolutely! I feel it planted the seed of the Spirit & a moral compass that guided me my entire life. God’s voice ALWAYS screamed louder than any other; He always allowed His road to illuminate brighter than the one of temptation that led me to destruction. It wasn’t that He was missing. It was that I ignored the sights & sounds God provided & chose my own way instead. I knew it was wrong, but it was easy. I mean, I WAS saved & all, you know? I COULD repent whenever I wanted. Right?
And with that last sentence, I fear this to be the mindset of most who claim to follow Jesus. “God Knows My Heart Syndrome”, as I like to call it. Trust me, I repeated it a lot over my lifetime. Until I realized 2 things: Most people say this when they’re trying to defend something they truly know deep in the pit of themselves is sinful. That statement is thrown so loosely, when in actuality, it should be camped on for awhile. When I did, it terrified me. God KNOWS my heart. This should never be said boldly in confidence to prove a point. It should be remembered with knees knocking. We can wear a lot of costumes, but there is never one that hides who we really are to the one who created us in the innermost places.
If you’ve read the blog piece about my dark past & where God met me when my daughter was in the NICU, followed by the past 6 years of countless miracles & opportunities, you understand what the cross of Christ means to me/us. (https://fearfullywonderfullymadeblog.wordpress.com/2015/10/20/this-is-my-story-this-is-my-song-this-is-my-testimony/ )
You see, Good Friday is a synonym for my life & the life of this household. That God can taking something so broken, so lifeless & what appears hopeless to the human eye & transform it into something to be used for the glory of the kingdom.
There’s no way the tomb could be emptied without a divine supernatural hand, in the same way, there’s no other possibility the garbage bin of my own past could be emptied & washed white; not without Yahweh, El Yeshuati.
Sunday came & Christ bore the external scars of what He suffered for me. What He suffered for you.
As Sunday comes, my family bears our scars of suffering, and like most, ours are internal.
I cannot help but think of Jesus greatest agony as I read the last steps he dragged himself to reach Golgotha. As He hung, so did His flesh, from the bone. Even though the inside of his body was visible, blood & water poured out; the physical pain & anguish was unfathomable, yes. But it wouldn’t compare to His greatest misery, our greatest also: The moment He as a man, was separated from the presence of God.
He dreaded it even as He prayed in Gethsemane. The physical agony was horrible, but the spiritual alienation from God was the ultimate torture.
I know for me, these are where I meet my greatest pains. When I choose to feel sin over the magnitude of the power that lives in me, I drive the nails & thorns right back into Jesus all over again.
For me, I didn’t just say a quick “once saved, always saved, come into my heart, clappy, I feel good, I’m not going to hell now, prayer” that I repeated & then I was good & on my way. That isn’t what salvation or its prayer means by any measure, to me.
I have to be saved every day; sometimes every 15 minutes I find myself calling on the name of Jesus to save me from something. Self talk, depression, judging others, overcoming of temptation, losing my witness…. SAVE ME JESUS. It has not become a one time event, it is as needed for survival as much as oxygen is to me- without salvation, I am dead. Spiritually, mentally, emotionally, physically; I am flat out leveled.
I know people, many are Christians, that do not understand the true sacrificial elements that surround the cross. You’ve never allowed yourself to be taken there. If that is you, believer or non, I pray that you would begin your journey, like I did, to scramble your way to the cross too.
I didn’t have any guide. No instructors. No teachers or mentors. I had no Christian group of friends to answer my questions, as honest or as stupid as they may have appeared. I had no prayer outline, no seminary trained background or theologies to erase so my thinking could be re-written.
What did I have then? How did I get this far? I had a Bible, a God, a mouth & free time. I utilize(d) all 4, many hours a day. When you sit before the foot of the throne & say, “Teach me to pray- Teach me to absorb this word to bear fruit in my life & home- Teach my tongue to speak by your Spirit- Teach me to die to myself- Teach me how to love you- Teach me your will, not mine- Teach me that it ALL is to bring you glory- TEACH ME and allow my life to bear witness to teach others, expect His arrival. That is where God met me. Through the prayers of a ready woman. Ready to understand it all. I honestly believe He will meet anyone there. I was spiritually starving & He knew it as much as you’re looked upon with that same knowing.
I offer you something personally- a person who says, I understand. I have been there. I hope you will allow me to open doors spiritually from time to time for you. If you have questions I would love to try to answer them, not have a ministry that becomes too busy to at least attempt helping you. That I will hopefully see your talents out there & do my best not to ignore them. That I will help to disciple you in the way Jesus commanded, so you will also be a hand up to others, as you go forward. This is one of the greatest prayers & a piece of the desire of my heart.
Ministry to me is about sharing & it’s about fanning flames. Whether it’s in the class I lead or a stage to speak. Combing scripture with my family, my social media, prayer, getting kids in poor countries sponsored or even this blog- it’s ALL a ministry to me. It’s all that important in touching someone else’s life for Christ.
As we wait for the moment in this season we relive He Is Risen! We also wait for the moment, We Will Rise!
I pray the Savior’s journey isn’t a once year tradition, but like me, He becomes your daily bread. That you too, would become a forever student of the word & find yourself longing for home like the prodigal.
Jesus. My fractured hallelujah comes at His expense. May I never forget the price paid for the overdrawn account & debt of sin I racked up & called a life. I am bankrupt without His supply.
Longing to be ‘the one’ in the crowd who follows Him just to be near Him. Not eager for some thing. Not for personal gain. Not even a message or teaching- just to dwell in His presence. Let it be humanity’s longing also. Let us bow our heads, rest in His arms & surrender. Just Jesus for Jesus.
Mark 14:3-9 NASB,
While He was in Bethany at the home of Simon the leper, and reclining at the table, there came a woman with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume of pure nard; and she broke the vial and poured it over His head. But some were indignantly remarking to one another, “Why has this perfume been wasted? For this perfume might have been sold for over three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor.” And they were scolding her. But Jesus said, “Let her alone; why do you bother her? She has done a good deed to Me. For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you wish you can do good to them; but you do not always have Me. She has done what she could; she has anointed My body beforehand for the burial. Truly I say to you, wherever the gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her.”
We must be willing to pay any price to gain what is priceless— eternal life. Anything worth having costs something. What does your commitment to God cost you?