Saturday, April 15, 2017
Yesterday was Good Friday. It started out just like most days. I got out of bed and my feet hit the ground running. I had the day off. But I still managed to fill my day with things to do. I picked my mom up. Took her to an appointment. We went to breakfast and followed it up with a shopping trip. I have been a little under the weather so we cut our adventure short. I dropped her off and got home and took a nap before the grand babies came by for a visit. In all the running I neglected to focus on just what this day was supposed to be. A day of reflecting on the greatest sacrifice ever made for mankind.
As I laid my head down for a nap I began to pray. I asked the Lord to place His healing hand on my body and give me strength to endure the pain and intense itchiness that I was feeling in that moment. I knew that the medication would kick in momentarily but I was feeling desperate and tired. As I laid there it hit me. Wow, I am such a selfish brat. Here on this day of all days I am complaining about a case of shingles. And here I am coming to the One who took on the penalty of my sin and asking Him to give me strength. Tears rolls down the side of my face. The burning pain I felt wasn't even a fraction of the pain my Jesus endured on this day 2017 years ago. I complained about how just wearing clothing seemed painful. And He carried a cross made of splintered wood on His flesh torn back without a grumble.
I closed my eyes and tried to place myself in the crowd of people watching as Jesus passed by. His back that was torn open with flesh hanging and bones and internal organs exposed. He stops for a minute and turns His head and looks in my direction. My heart sinks. I am ashamed. My selfishness and sinful ways are at fault. I try to look away. But His eyes are locked with mine. He, in all His pain, smiles ever so slightly and whispers through the crowd. "I love you and I chose to do this for you." I stand there paralyzed in the crowd. Everyone is gasping in horror as they see Him pass by. There is a trail of blood. Again, He locks eyes with me and says, "Come, follow Me". I pause for a few minutes and close my eyes. This is overwhelming. How could I have done those horrible things in my past? I knew the truth about His love. But yet I still selfishly did what I wanted anyway. I look up and I can no longer see Him. I desperately try to find Him. I look down and there I see the trail of blood that He shed for me. I pause and faintly hear a whisper in the wind, "follow Me". So the journey begins.
As I proceed to follow the trail of blood I hear the sound of a hammer being pounded with great force. The crowd is thick. I can't seem to follow the trail because of the amount of bystanders blocking my way. So, I get down and crawl through the sea of people. I hear them laughing, gasping, and many even crying with each blow of the hammer. The hammer stops. I eventually make my way to the end of the crowd. I stand up and before me is my Lord. I touch His feet and see the bloodied nail that has been pierced through His feet. His feet are cold but the nail is still warm from the blunt force of the hammer. I can't bear to look up. I can barely see through my tears. It's dark and the wind is piercing through me. But yet I hear a whisper. "Kathleen, look up". I stand up. My legs are weak and I look into Jesus' eyes. He says, "This is Love". Even though His arms were nailed, one facing east and the other west, I felt the warmth of His embrace. He comforted me in His darkest hour. Reminding me that I am forgiven and that now my sins would be as far as the east is from the west.
I fell to my knees and then planted my tear filled face into the sandy dirt. My tears mixed with the bloody soil in front of me. I felt myself being forcefully pulled away. I stood up covered and muddy. And as I began to walk away I turned once more. Jesus locked eyes with me and said, "It is finished". I felt this rush. As I walked through the crowd I felt people staring at me. I looked down and realized that I was clean. I looked perfect. I was flawless. How could it be? My Savior covered me in His blood and I was forgiven of all my past, present and future sins. With gratitude I turned once again. But this time our eyes did not lock. My Jesus was lifeless on the cross. I watched as they took Him down and placed His body into the arms of the woman who birthed Him. As a mom I could only imagine her pain. My heart felt broken. But by the look on her face her heart was shattered.
I woke from my nap and went about the rest of my Friday. The angel and sweet girl came for a visit. My husband, while doing yard work, found a birds nest with an egg inside. He took the littles out to see it and their faces were filled with amazement. I thought about how inside this nest a new life was about to begin. The egg was left unattended by the momma bird. Amazing how a bird can show us what faith and trust in God can look like. Another reason that I love spring it is a sign of God's faithfulness to restore us.
Later in the evening we headed to church for the Good Friday experience. With my dream still fresh in my head I had the opportunity to reflect more. As we walked and reflected at each station I came upon a table that displayed the nails, crown of thorns and the whip (cat of nine tails). I felt even closer to Jesus at that moment. Then the next room had a cross, hammer and nails. The force in which I had to strike the nail to drive it into the wood was eye opening. I was only able to hit the nail a few times before feeling nauseous. The whole experience left me feeling blessed and caused me to reflect on my life.
I pray that as we get through this day, the Saturday before Resurrection Day, that we all take time to reflect on what the cross means to us. Imagine the disappointment that the followers of Jesus must have felt day after this tragic event that took place over two thousand years ago. There must have been great confusion and heartbreak. They altered their lives to follow Jesus. And they followed Him all the way to the cross and then to the tomb. The Messiah, the one who was supposed to save the world, was "dead". Was there faith shattered for a moment in time? They must have been numb because they didn't have the privileged of knowing how the story ended. However, we do. How often is our faith shattered when tragedy strikes? How many times have we cried out because of the awful repercussions of sin in the world today? How many times have forgotten that ......Sunday is coming!!!! Yes, Sunday is coming! Jesus has risen and He is alive. God's promise has been fulfilled. Because of Jesus Christ's obedience we are forgiven for yesterday, today and tomorrow. AMEN!!!
Happy Resurrection Day!