Sometimes it takes Easter for the blind to see. Sometimes it takes a fresh encounter with the risen Jesus, even when we know Him well.
Our pastor gave a heartfelt and brilliant sermon about hope yesterday—about how Jesus finishes the sentences we start in life—about how not to give up because WE don’t finish our own life sentences. And I sat there thinking of our kids on both sides of me. These little kids we picked up in our arms. We went to Russia and drove far out and entered a dilapidated building full of young orphans. And we picked each of them up in our arms and brought them back to a forever home. And we introduced them to Jesus—way back then.
And now? They’re growing up fast—now 21, 19, and nearly 15. And they still love Jesus.
And Jesus is still loving all of us–working on our hearts and shaping us into His liking for love’s sake.
During worship, we sang Easter praises. Worship softens the heart towards God in a mysterious way. During the last song, Zach broke down sobbing as we sang lyrics about all Christ has done for us.
And I knew. I knew what the tears were about. We’ve had a long, hard journey and it’s not over. Zach knows too. I put my arm around him and we continued to sing. His body was shaking and hot and the tears kept dropping. But this was a good thing. It’s good to break open before God and pour out all the ugly we try so hard to contain and hide and bury.
But Easter isn’t about burials. Easter is about breaking open and leaving tombs. Easter is about leaving death stench and stepping out into the light of a new day dawning—a new beginning.
Zach calmed as I leaned over and whispered in his ear Romans 7:14 and 24, how even Paul felt the same.
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!
And then the sermon began. Zach pulled out his pen as he does every Sunday and took notes. I love watching our son listen and look and jot down sermon notes when he could choose to check out, look bored, close his ears and, worse, his heart. His heart is still soft toward God and for that I am filled with thanks and hope. Our present struggles are not permanent.
And then, I look to my other side and there’s our nearly 15 year-old Nick asking for a pen.
Nick starts to take notes. Most wouldn’t notice the significance of this moment. But I do. I remember the 19 month-old child who still couldn’t stand or walk or hold a sippy cup. I remember all the years of occupational therapy—up until last year—to help him hold a pencil and learn how to form letters. I remember how—up until last year—his printing was illegible. How he couldn’t manage correct size of letters without specially formed paper and raised lines he could feel. How he couldn’t space words and ran them all together.
And here in church on Easter Sunday, 2013—just 30 days away from his 15thbirthday?
Nick is taking notes because he WANTS to! It’s not part of therapy or school. He WANTS to use his hands that have been helped for so many years. He WANTS to write God’s truths—to write God’s WORDS! And I can read Nick’s writing! My heart melts in thanks.
New beginnings. And beginnings are not ends. Only Jesus is the Alpha and Omega. He gets to put the finishing touches on each and every one of His masterpieces in the making. No matter how the picture looks to us this day, each of us is a masterpiece in the making. And each of our canvases are in the Artist’s capable, tender, genius, and nail-scarred hands.
Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. Psalm 100
P.S. Just as I finished this post on this post-Easter morning, Nick came up the stairs fresh out of bed, and announced . . .
I guess that’s quite an accomplishement for a teenager . . . .