Earlier this month I had the joy of visiting family in what I consider to be one of the most beautiful places on earth. Six days of delight. Six days of mountaintops. I came home ready to jump back into work, get some spring cleaning accomplished, and prepare for the season of Easter.
Instead I got the flu. It’s been ten days and I am finally starting to feel like I just may survive. Ten days of despair. Ten days of the valley of the shadow of death.
I had been planning to play the piano for the Maundy Thursday service last evening in my church, but felt so tired after my first day back at work I wasn’t sure I could do it. I managed to make it to the service but was told to just sit back and relax. Mark played the guitar and because I can’t sing without coughing, I just closed my eyes and settled into the beautiful words of the hymns sung by the faithful voices of my brothers and sisters. I listened to God’s Word almost like a starving person. I soaked up the joy of just being with my church family.
My thirsty soul was refreshed.
This morning as I watched what is going on in the world, as I thought of the rejection of Christ, as I read what the world says of the only One who can save them, I was reminded of the criminals who died with Jesus.
The one just like the world:
Luke 23:39 “One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!”
And the one just like me:
Luke 23:40-43 “But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”
I am overwhelmed by what Jesus did for me. I weep because it was my sin that held Him there. I weep because He loves me. But He has turned my tears into joy, my sorrow into rejoicing, my death into life.
This, this is the God I love.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16