Thursday, April 17, 2008

God Wins! And so do you!

Was it a long winter and a slow spring, or what? Everyone I talk to is aching for sunshine and warm breezes. Excited to leave their coats and umbrellas at home, to go walking out in nature or play a round of golf. As I sit and write this, the signs are all in place. Spring has sprung! (Albeit, taking its time to blossom). And with the grounds thaw and the daffodil flowers comes the promise of our own awakenings as well.

Especially at Easter time, we are reminded of a very important message: God wins! I know it doesn’t always feel like it, but from the moment Mary arrived at the tomb and found it empty, to when Thomas touched Jesus’ hand and put his fingers in Jesus’ side, the truth has been revealed. Sin, evil, death and the sickness and suffering they bring only have temporary power. God is the victor forevermore!

Paul, who wrote much of the New Testament, was a covert to Christianity and understood the significance of Jesus’ resurrection for believers as such: “Paul sees Christians as living in two different times: the present and the future. The past is canceled, for ‘While we still were sinners Christ died for us’ (Romans 5:8). The future is already ours; eternal life with and through Christ finds fulfillment in the future but is available for us right now. The tricky part is the present.” (Stroble, Paul. Paul and the Galatians. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2000. pg. 53.)

As Jesus told his disciples, “Because I live, you also will live” (John 14: 19). The promise of eternal life after our earthly lives is our greatest hope for certain. But we were not created to simply wait around planet earth for a perfect afterlife. No way! The resurrection from the dead is for your mortal bodies also. When we celebrate Easter, we celebrate the fact that all of God’s children receive new life in Christ Jesus today. To be as fully alive in Christ as is humanly possible, that is our present task. The spirit and love inside each of us is like a flower that blooms every spring, becoming part of a new creation, with many happy days of warmth, sunshine and water ahead.

Anais Nin said, "And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." The process of being made new can often be a frightening and painful process. It means letting go, dropping defenses, surrendering everything you know, even your life! As Paul excitedly proclaimed, “It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2: 20). Dying to self, and living in God day-by-day is also our Christian hope. Some days, life itself and its many struggles might seem like too much to bare, but it is a wonderful gift and a continual process of maturation into the perfect children of God. Never forget: God wins! And so do you!

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