Good Friday 2022: Brutal & Blessed

Today is Good Friday, the day we set aside to remember the sacrifice Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, made on our behalf when He willingly laid down His life at the cross to pay the penalty for something that He did not owe…my sins and yours.  He suffered at the brutal hands of Roman soldiers but, in reality, my hands and yours, too, nailed Him to the cross.

Jesus was as prepared as anyone could be to suffer and die.  The Gospels tell us Jesus agonized in the Garden of Gethsemane before His betrayal and arrest praying, “Father, if Thou art willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Thine be done.”  Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him. Luke 22:42-43  The fact that an angel came and ministered strength to Him, testifies of His humanity, of His dread of the coming suffering, even though He knew the end result would be His return to Glory and eternal life for all whom the Father gave Him (see John 17). 

Within a ten day period, we recently attended memorial services for four men ranging in age from 52 to 87. 

8/7/21 - Feeling Forgotten by God

Have you ever felt forgotten by God?  I remember a radio caller whose wife had been suffering from a herniated disk and was in extreme pain.  There were also insurance coverage issues, and he said she felt God had forgotten her.

Certainly Satan uses situations of chronic pain to attempt to plant seeds of doubt regarding God’s care for us, His awareness of us and His goodness in our lives.  Way back in the Garden of Eden, where there wasn’t any evidence of pain or suffering, Satan planted seeds of doubt in the mind of Eve by contradicting God with lies.  She listened to the lie, bought into the enemy’s scheme and, as a result, hers, Adam’s and all of our lives were forever changed.

God’s plan for situations of pain or suffering extend far beyond the immediate feelings of discomfort and even anguish. 

5/30/21 - Consider the Ants

When I was a young girl, my brother had an ant farm which was basically sand between two sheets of clear plastic so we could watch the ants build their home & see their eggs hatch, etc.  It was fun to watch the whole process develop as they were diligent, productive and resourceful.

Last spring, we decided it was time to do some maintenance work on our sand-packed brick patio.  We pressure washed it to remove moss that had built up as well as much of the old sand between the bricks.   We then began determining which bricks needed to be replaced prior to sweeping in new sand over the entire patio surface to refill the gaps between the bricks. 

As you might imagine, lifting out bricks revealed ants scurrying for safety from the giant humans who were uncovering their dwellings.  At one point, I lifted a brick only to discover an ant nursery.  I watched in awe of these tiny creatures as it looked like the whole colony was rushing to move their precious, unhatched eggs out of harm’s way.  They knew they were supposed to protect their unborn babies, and it never even occurred to them to abandon their eggs in order to save themselves.  They worked as a unified team with a single purpose, and it was amazing to watch!

6/12/21 - Lemons vs. Brussels Sprouts

My sister gave me a Charlie Brown & Peanuts Gang perpetual calendar for my birthday.  Every day presents a cute comic strip or single comic scene.  Earlier this week, Charlie Brown and Lucy were having a discussion: “They say if life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade.  What if life gives you brussels sprouts?” 

As if on que, the very next day, life gave us brussells sprouts, and neither one of us like them!  Now, there are some other vegetables that I dislike even more (please don’t ever serve me beets or cooked spinach!) but I have yet to find anything that can make brussels sprouts palatable – unlike lemons, sugar and water just can’t improve their taste!

To be sure, brussels sprouts do have health benefits but does that mean I have to partake of them?  Yes, sometimes I do, and this week was declared a brussels sprouts week as God had ordained some character building for us through an unpleasant trial.  It has been especially unpleasant because it involves people within the body of Christ.

5/13/21 – Pray the Word!

God’s Word will not return to Him void.  According to Isaiah 55:11, the Word of God accomplishes the purpose for which He sent it.

Over the years, I have talked with many people who, with desperation or hopelessness in their voices, have said, ‘I just don’t know how to pray for him/her anymore!’  Haven’t we all been frustrated at some point, not seeing results and not even sure how to pray according to God’s will?  Or, worse yet, perhaps we have stopped praying for someone out of hopelessness.