What Easter Means for the Worn and Weary

So I can’t pinpoint why exactly but, the other day, I found myself fighting tears. They were so close to the surface all day long.

Maybe there’s no good way to describe that feeling. It’s just that suddenly those emotions you’ve been trying to ignore, well they finally get fed up with being forced into silence. They demand to be heard!

And there comes a time when you stop pretending to be tough and you start being honest with yourself.

 

You’re just worn out.
(Or as we like to say in the south, “worn to a frazzle.”)

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But when we bring our daily struggles to Jesus, we are acknowledging our faith in His ability to save us. We are declaring our belief in a living God who redeems our life from the pit.

Remember the story of Lazarus? After he died, his sister Martha came to Jesus who said to her,

“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” 

She said “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God…” and Jesus went on to raise her brother from the dead. 

What about you? Do you believe this?

Do you think it’s possible that Jesus can take a heart like yours, worn and weary though it may be, and make the miraculous happen?

I do. Trust in Him and, as the song says, “All that’s dead inside will be reborn.”

That’s the reason we celebrate Easter – the whole reason for a cross and an empty tomb.

REDEMPTION!

“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them.” Luke 1:68

You can hear the song, “Worn” performed in this visually stunning video below by the Christian band, Tenth Avenue North. (Trouble viewing? Click here.)

Here’s a quote from lead singer Mike Donehey’s blog:

If we come to Jesus with anything more than nothing, we come with too much… He’s after a grateful people, not a perfect people. He’s after a responsive people, not a self-helped one. Live loved. That’s our call. That is our job. Even when we’re worn out, worn thin, and feel like we’ve got nothing left to offer Him, all He demands is our nothing.

 


Light Bulb Moments

I’m not sure when the light bulb flashed on in my mind. The moment I first understood that phrase “Let go and let God.”

Seems my whole life has been a learning and re-learning of that concept.

But last week, I was schooled in a most unlikely setting. My husband and I attended the funeral of his 55 year old cousin. A woman I, unfortunately, did not know well but feel like I grew to know through the beautiful eulogy offered by her son.

He stood at the front of the church and thanked the large crowd of family, friends and his mother’s former art students. He described how she had inspired so many, including himself, with her strong Christian faith and her positive spirit through difficult times.

She had survived breast cancer and, most recently after many years of waiting, a kidney transplant. Everyone got their hopes up only to have them come crashing down last week when we learned she had passed away from a heart attack.

And the overriding question everyone asked was, “Why?”

We just couldn’t make sense of it. Because we all want to see nice, happy endings wrapped up in a bow. But, the fact of the matter is, things don’t always go the way we plan.

And it was her grieving son who spoke words that seemed to fill the thick air with the only thing that does make sense.

He said, “Knowing God is better than knowing the answers.”

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I tried to catch the tears spilling with a tattered paper napkin I had found in my purse.

Interesting, isn’t it? The things you collect over a lifetime? All the stuff we carry around with us that we might not even be aware we are holding onto.

The thin paper napkin was wet and falling apart as I recalled other loved ones I’ve lost over the years and what that taught me about faith and the sovereignty of God.

He knows all the answers to all the why’s and all I have to do is trust Him at all times.

He is ALL I need.

“And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches
in glory by Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:19

I know this. That clenching my fist is just clinging to fear and letting go is the way to embrace grace. But it is good and necessary to be reminded.

Because it’s all these light bulb moments strung together that help us cut through the long, dark night on our journey towards glorious, unending day.

Keeping on Track

It’s the middle of January. And doesn’t it always seem to happen this way?

You come into the new year with a goal in sight. Your adrenalin surges and you begin this race with a strong resolve to win. But you’ve barely gotten started when something like a pebble on the path causes you stumble.

Sort of like the head cold that knocked me down this past week.

You trip over all your good intentions and find yourself lying on the couch cradling a box of Kleenex.

But no worries.

Photo Credit

When we feel like giving up
God reminds us to look up.


And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you,
for My power is perfected in weakness.”
2 Cor. 12:9a
The truth is, we serve a powerful God. If He is strong enough to move mountains (and He is), He can certainly move us.  

And in the meantime, really at ALL times, there is grace. 

This wonderful, abundant, unmerited, God-given grace encouraging us with the fact that no matter how many times we get sidelined,
we can trust Him to keep us on track.

A New Reality Show

Does anyone remember what life was like before the “reality” show phenomenon? Whether many of these shows actually depict reality is a matter of debate. However, their popularity is undeniable. Why?

Could it be that people are hungry to connect with other people, even if it is a just a virtual connection?

 Some say watching these shows is an escape from the reality of their own lives. But perhaps the truth is that we are desperate to find out how others handle the struggles of our common human experience.

We learn from each other, for better or worse, as we share the good and the bad, the messy and the beautiful and all the ups and the downs of life.

Hoda Kotb, one of the hosts of the Today Show, has told the story of how she came to the decision to go public with her breast cancer ordeal. After undergoing mastectomy surgery, she met a stranger on a plane who began asking her questions and drawing out the secret which she had, to that point, kept safely hidden.

“Don’t hog your journey.  It’s not just for you. You can keep it all to yourself or you can choose to help people by sharing your story.”

Wise words.

And, as Christians, we have even more incentive to share our journey. We have been given the Great Commission to tell the world what God has done for us (Matthew 28:19-20). We have been told that we are the “light of the world” and that, rather than hide the light, we should let it be seen so that others might give praise to our heavenly Father (Matthew 5: 14-16).


But how many of us cringe at the thought of exposing ourselves? We do not want to share our weakness, our struggles, our pain. Pride tells us to keep up the appearance of strength. We might say we don’t want to bother anyone or bring anyone down. We might pretend we have it all together out of fear or the inability to accept our own reality.

The Word teaches that our weakness reveals the power of Christ. As we allow His grace to pour into our lives, the empty places fill and what emerges is a testimony to His greatness.

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

My prayer today is that God would help us to acknowledge His presence in the story of our lives – that He would help us to embrace and admit our reality and then be willing to surrender it to the telling.

Because it is not for us only. It also belongs to all those who might be watching from the shadows, those who may be needing encouragement for their own journey.

When we loosen our grip and are obedient to share the truth, others are able to grasp hold of it. They are able to witness God’s enduring love and faithfulness and His power to help us through difficult circumstances.

It is in this honest humility, the display of God’s strength being made perfect in weakness, that the human spirit is elevated and hope-filled.That is when we see His light and His glory revealed. Now that is a reality show worth watching!