One week can change everything

On the heels of Resurrection Sunday, I’ve been allowing my imagination to dive a little deeper into the perspectives of those who witnessed that day and the surrounding events. Consider where things stood one week ago today, over 2,000 years ago. The crucifixion of the Savior of the world was taking place.

The Messiah, the promised One had come. He gave sight to the blind, he cast out demons, he raised the dead. He was going to set everything right and things were finally going to be perfect.

Except that they weren’t. On that Good Friday, things got worse. Imagine his followers rejoicing on Palm Sunday, not knowing that Good Friday was right around the corner.

On that Good Friday, things got worse.

The rumors and rumbles had started to grow louder. At Passover, when he sat with his disciples, he confirmed it all. He told them about the things that were to come. His betrayal, his death. He spoke of leaving. But how could that be? This was the Messiah they’d waited on. It had to have all been so confusing.

I can imagine how his disciples must’ve felt that night as they watched him betrayed by one of their own. And what about those that had personally experienced his miracles, those he taught in the temple, his family, his mom? They watched him tortured and mocked, watched him carry his cross, bloody and weak. Then they saw him on the cross, the suffering Savior. Envision what they must’ve felt watching from afar.

It had to have felt so hopeless at that moment. Blinded by what they saw, I can only assume the heaviness of the defeat and despair they felt. Where would they go from here?

What they didn’t know, was that though all of this was unfolding in what seemed to be a tragic turn of events leading to Jesus’ crucifixion, they were actually watching the Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world. It was part of the plan, in fact it was the plan. It had to be this way. He was going through with it for them. For me. For you.

But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.

Isaiah 53:5

We know what they didn’t know. Sunday was coming. Sunday was part of the plan from the beginning as well.

Even greater than the despair that gripped the disciples’ hearts that Friday, was the hope and joy that overwhelmed them that Sunday morning when they found he had risen, just as he said.

Now a week later, the previous events playing over in their minds, still trying to make sense of it all, I imagine them feeling a myriad of emotions. Relief, that their worst fears would never come true. Jesus was alive and he was in fact, the true Messiah. Regret, that they had doubted him and deserted him at the most critical time in his human life. Yet still, overwhelming love and devotion, for the one who sacrificed it all and welcomed them back with open arms even after they’d failed him.

In this week following Resurrection Sunday, I want to remind myself and whoever is reading this, that nothing negates the promise. The situation may be bleak, it may even appear to be going in the opposite direction of the promise. And yes, it’s only human to have an emotional reaction to that. Some things just knock the wind out of you, no matter how close you are to Jesus.

Nothing negates the promise.

But just like Jesus died and rose again, just like the disciples experienced the worst day of their lives followed by the best day in humanity’s history, in the end the promise will stand. God’s plan will prevail. Jesus is our hope and our promise. He has shown that he does not fail, not even death could defeat him.

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.

John 16:33

Knowing that Jesus is the same God now as he was then, I receive and accept the hope that even in the midst of disappointment, confusion, or heartbreak, no matter what transpires–Sunday is still coming. One week can change everything.

Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends!

Lamentations 3:21-22

Live Authentically

Send someone else

Moses definitely had some run ins and close calls (read Exodus chapters 2-4). At one point, Pharaoh was even after him. So he ran away and found himself in Midian where he married and settled in.

He was minding his own business, just taking care of the flock when it happened. The famous burning bush story. Moses sees the burning bush, but something is odd. It’s burning, but it’s not being consumed. Taken aback, Moses goes to inspect. And then he hears a voice. God begins to speak to him and tells him to take off his shoes because the place he is standing is holy ground. Then Moses and God proceed to have a conversation.

God tells Moses that he has heard the cries of the children of Israel as they’ve suffered at the hand of the Egyptians. Basically, God is telling Moses–I’ve seen it all. I’ve never taken my eyes off of them. When they cried, it never fell on deaf ears. I’ve heard everything and now, I’m going to act. It’s time to intervene. And you are the one I’m going to send to help them.

“Then the Lord told him, ‘I have certainly seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their cries of distress because of their harsh slave drivers. Yes, I am aware of their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them…Now go, for I am sending you to Pharaoh. You must lead my people Israel out of Egypt.’”

Exodus 3:7-10 NLT

Moses immediately began throwing out reasons why he couldn’t be the one. “Who am I to go to Pharaoh? Who am I to lead them out of Egypt? What will I tell them? They won’t believe me! I’m not a good speaker!” And finally in Exodus 4:13 he just pleads, “Lord, please! Send anyone else.”

That last part is my favorite. It’s so honest. Can you relate? I can. I’ve said the same things.

When we consider our shortcomings, at times it just seems to make more sense for God to use someone else. Someone more qualified. Someone more established. Someone without insecurities. Please. Just send someone else.

This is what stands out to me. Yes, at this point Moses was just unwilling and God had heard enough. “Then the Lord became angry with Moses.” (Exodus 4:14) But he didn’t scold him, berate him, or change his mind about him. Because he is so compassionate and patient, God was willing to address all of Moses’ concerns. He provided everything Moses would need. He talked him through each scenario. He told him exactly what to do and say.

God didn’t expect perfection. He knew Moses’ flaws and imperfections before he asked him to do this. He had made provisions for it all. And more than anything, he promised to be with Moses.

God answered, “I will be with you.”

Exodus 3:12 NLT

And he promises to be with us.

Sometimes we become so preoccupied with our imperfections that we forget that God made us and knows us better than we know ourselves. Knowing the job he wanted done, knowing the worship he wanted to receive, knowing the position he wanted to be filled in this earth, he created a unique person to fulfil it. That person is you. That person is me. Each created fearfully and wonderfully with a purpose and plan in mind. Every imperfection is a testimony of God’s power and a chance to give him honor; it’s only because of him that we are what we are.

But by the grace of God I am what I am…”

1 Corinthians 15:10 NKJV

“Each time he said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’”

2 Corinthians 12:9

The takeaway: when God says go–GO! If you are afraid and feel inadequate, you are. When you stand in your own strength, that is. But through Christ, you can do all things. When he is with you, you have everything you need.

Just like Moses, there is someone, somewhere waiting on you, too. Someone is praying for you to do whatever it is that God is calling you to do. Someone else’s cries have come to God’s ears and he is going to send you to be the answer to their prayers.

So whatever step he’s asking you to take, take it. Do it. Go there. Share your testimony. And know that he won’t send you anywhere alone. He will go with you every step of the way.