Monday, April 25, 2011


The empty tomb.
What a powerful story we live in.
I sat on the banks of a lake this weekend, watching the sun go down and listening to the frogs and the crickets... music to my ears! I've thought about the past 10 months and whether I am truly living the life I hoped to live after my sister's death. At her funeral, I thought about how one day she would be resurrected- a beautiful girl, designed with such purpose and a precious gift to this world- and to me.
Just like other followers of Christ, I live a powerful and important life, because my Jesus rose from the dead! I admit, I am discouraged often, always having too high of expectations to grow past some of the sinful places in my heart. But it reminds me that I cannot do it without Him showing me the way. And He is doing it... He is changing my heart... in His perfect time.
A conversation last week made me wonder: Do we, as believers, really, truly live as if Christ rose from the dead? Do we believe Christ transforms our hearts?

O Father, forgive us when we doubt! Forgive us when we turn to self pity, doubting the change in our souls as each day comes. We deny you and the resurrection when we do this. We deny the active transformation in us, in each other, and the world.

"Oh, how slow grief is to come to understand! Grief is ignorant and does not even care to learn. When the grieving women 'were sitting opposite the tomb,' did they see the triumph of the next two thousand years? Did they see anything except that Christ was gone?
The Christ you and I know today came from their loss. Countless mourning hearts have since seen resurrection in the midst of their grief, and yet these sorrowing women watched at the beginning of this result and saw nothing. What they regarded as the end of life was actually the preparation for coronation, for Christ remained silent that He might live again with tenfold power.
They did not see it. They mourned, wept, went away, and then came again to the sepulcher, driven by their broken hearts. And still it was only a tomb- unprophetic, voiceless, and drab.
It is the same with us. Each of us sits 'opposite the tomb' in our own garden and initially says, 'This tragedy is irreparable. I see no benefit in it and will take no comfort in it.' And yet right in the midst of our deepest and worst adversaries, our Christ is often just lying there, waiting to be resurrected.
Our Savior is where our death seems to be. At the end of our hope, we find the brightest beginning of fulfillment. Where darkness seems the deepest, the most radiant light is set to emerge. And once the experience is complete, we find our garden is not disfigured by the tomb.
Our joys are made better when sorrow is in the midst of them. And our sorrows become bright through the joys God has planted around them. At first the flowers of the garden may not appear to be our favorites, but we will learn that they are the flowers of the heart. The flowers planted at the grace deep within the Christian heart are love, hope, faith, joy and peace."

'Twas by a path of sorrows drear
Christ entered into rest;
And shall I look for roses here,
Or think that earth is blessed?
Heaven's whitest lilies blow
From earth's sharp crown of woe:
Who here his cross can meekly bear,
Shall war the kingly purple there.

(From April 25 Streams in the Desert)

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