Friday, April 10, 2020

He Understands by Lindsey Weyer

On Good Friday, Jesus's family, friends, and followers must have been not only devastated but also confused. Their leader, their friend, and their Savior had seemingly abandoned them. I cannot imagine Mary, Jesus's mother watching him struggle beneath the weight of the cross without tears flooding my eyes. It is hard enough to see my children in temporary pain that has an easy fix but to witness this would be unbearable. Really thinking about Jesus hanging on the cross in my place, facing death, so that I can be freed from the fear of it undoes me. Reading the story of the crucifixion of Jesus from the Jesus Story Book Bible by Sally Lloyd Jones, out loud to our boys, makes me cry every time. She writes about how people mocked him, saying that he could save himself, climb down off of the cross. Of course, they were actually right, he could have. It was not the nails that held him there, but love held him there, love for me and you. When Jesus cried out, "Father, father, why have you forsaken me?" We can be reminded that because Jesus was forsaken on that cross, we will never have to be forsaken, ever. Tears rolled down the face of the One who would wipe away every tear.

Then the waiting and not knowing on Saturday would have been crushing. I'm sure it seemed endless and disorienting. Still, Sunday, oh glorious Sunday, to hear that not only was there more to the story but that the ending surpassed every hope imaginable! To understand that their Savior was no longer in the grave, that death could not hold Him, had to make their hearts explode with such incredible, mind-blowing joy! This is why when I think about Easter, I think about how it is both devastatingly sad and unexpectedly crazy, amazingly happy. The journey from the cross to the grave, and then to rise again, a journey that the prophets of the Old Testament alluded to was unbelievable until it actually became a reality.
At the COACHES HONOR, women's retreat Sharon Hersh shared about each of our stories matter.   They are part of a much bigger story, the biggest story of all time. This is a story of rescue that God has been unfolding since the beginning of time, a story of drawing His people back to Himself. There is great joy in this story as well as great sorrow. This week, with Easter approaching, much uncertainty in our world, and life looks different than it has ever looked before, I have been viewing things differently. As I have been looking at what is going on, this extended time of no hanging out with people, but a lot of family time at home, the sweet gift of time slowing down juxtaposed against the devastation people are experiencing all over the world, I have felt both an effervescent joy and deep, heavy sadness. I’m so thankful that I am invited to bring these emotions, all of them, to God, to lay them at his feet. Psalm 33:13, 15 says that the Lord looks down from heaven. He sees every person… He made their hearts. He understands everything they do. In all actuality, He knows my heart and my emotions better than I do. This is the heart of the matter. 

Our hearts are amazing because, as Louie Giglio writes in a children’s devotional called Indescribable, “The One who hung the stars is the same One who shaped and formed your heart…. The incredible fact is that the God who's big enough to know all the secrets of the universe also loves us so much that He knows all the emotions of our hearts and exactly when we feel them.” This means we are never alone in what we feel. He sees, and he draws near. Psalm 34:18 says, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” No matter what I am facing, he has a plan, not just to help, but to rescue and comfort. He promises in Isaiah 41:13 that He is the Lord our God.  He is holding our right hand, and he says we do not have to be afraid. He will always help us.

Right now, there is much waiting and much uncertainty in the world, but we can trust that there is hope in the waiting. Our friends dropped off a note on our front porch with a painted rock depicting the cross and the grave. The note stated John 11:25-26, "You don't have to wait for the end. I am right now, resurrection and life. The One who believes in me even though he or she dies will LIVE. And everyone who lives believing in me does not ultimately die at all. Do you believe this?” I’m so thankful for the Holy Spirit that awakens my heart to this truth, that we get to live believing this. 

My prayer this Easter is that we would be reminded that we are invited to bring all of our hearts to Jesus.   We are invited to bring our real genuine emotions to Him, lay them at His feet, knowing that He cares more than we can even begin to understand.  Also, I am praying that as we celebrate Jesus’s resurrected life, we can remember that He bore our pain, our sin, our hurt, and our death on the cross. He knows; He understands.

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