One week removed from Easter, how are you feeling now? How long did the Easter glow last?
For me, Holy Week 2020 was a deeper, richer experience than normal, thanks to the forced rhythm of life being slower this year than it usually is. But even still, it didn’t take long for the warmth, the feeling of confident trust in our God to get mixed into the drudgery and worries of everyday life. Maybe the glow lasted until Tuesday?
I don’t know about you, but I’d really like to get it back. I yearn to live every moment of every day in the warm candlelight of God’s companionship. But how can we get back to that in the midst of our unprecedented and discomforting reality? That’s the challenge, the secret passage that ends up leading us to a place where we, like the Apostle Paul, could sing hymns praising God even in a dank and disgusting prison cell.
Part of the answer is in the blessed assurance that all followers of Christ should feel–that our final destination in heaven with Jesus, our loved ones, and our favorite dogs has been secured for us by our Savior. That thought should lead us to a place of joy regardless of our current earthly circumstances.
But there’s another piece to the puzzle as well. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” So if we are to think of every step we take with Him as Life, then it’s logical to think of every step we take away from Him as being death. I think about how alive I feel after an amazing church service or time of prayer and worship–and after an entire Holy Week of walking with Jesus to the cross and the empty tomb on Easter–and this is consistent with Jesus being Life. On the other side of the coin, I think about how blah I feel when I let myself forget how much smaller my problems are than my God, and that also seems consistent with my definition of death–steps taken away from Jesus.
I don’t think we get to the point of feeling rotten or sad or depressed all at once. We get there one step at a time when those steps are taken away from Jesus. Little bits of ourselves die with every fearful thought. Or every time we hate or lust or are greedy. Unfortunately, the list goes on and on. We are broken beings born into a broken world that’s ruled by one who is all too happy to grab us by the hand and lead us down any of those broken paths, smiling his oily grin the whole way.
Yikes! So how can we break out of that frightfully depressing pattern? Can these chains be broken?
YES! All we have to do is call upon our Saviour and He will save us. Again. And Again. It may seem to us like there should be a limit to how many times we can do this, but that’s one of the beautiful things about it–about Him–that His mercy knows no bounds! That’s why they call it grace. The simple prayer, “Jesus, help me” is all we need (yes, that’s a prayer–we don’t need flowery language or thousands of words to reach Him). Even though this may seem to be a small thing to us, let’s not forget our Bible stories, which clearly state that demons and other forces of darkness fear His name!
Here’s another cool thing: it doesn’t matter how many steps we have taken away from Jesus. As soon as we ask Him for help, He’s there with us faster than any superhero! (He’s the original and ultimate superhero–oh yeah, and He’s real). We don’t have to take the same number of steps back toward Him as we took away from Him. One step, one whisper of His name is all it takes. Then we are back to Life. Our Big Brother and Great Big God are by our side.
And here’s the ultimate thing. This power of God–the same power that raised Jesus from death to life–is available to us, to bring us from death to Life every time we call upon His name, regardless of whether we’ve taken one step away from Him or a million.
How awesome is that? How great is our God?