Friday, March 29, 2013



Good Friday

On “Palm Sunday,” Jesus entered Jerusalem to the cheers of the crowd who shouted "Hosanna in the highest!" They saw Him as their deliverer. But on their terms. When He didn’t “live up to” their expectations, they turned on Him. By the next Friday (not even a week later) they were condemning Him. The crowds now shouted “Crucify Him!” over and over. Disturbing, isn’t it?

But put yourself in their shoes: they had an expectation, based on biblical prophecies and promises from God (legitimate sources). When Jesus didn’t do what they wanted, when they wanted, they gave up on Him. They turned on Him. Their anger turned to bloodlust and they “cheered” for His death.

I could never understand that. Couldn’t imagine it. I read the gospels and hope there’s an escape hatch for Jesus this time through. That He won’t end up on the cross. Well, part of me does. The other part gets that He had to die so I could truly live. Praise Him!

But as I await fulfilled promises, I sometimes find myself trusting less and questioning more. I resent and resist, at times. The same heart (mine) that praised Him and adored Him and welcomed Him resists, rejects, and questions Him.

Just like the Israelites did.

Just Because…

But here’s what He’s teaching me through this humbling reflection where I’ve found more in common with the crowds than I imagined existed:

Just because Jesus didn’t fulfill all the prophecies yet doesn’t mean He won’t. He will.

And just because Jesus didn’t keep Lazarus alive doesn’t mean He didn’t care. He did.

And just because I don’t understand what He’s doing or why the delay lasts so long doesn’t mean He’s not right in all He does. He is.

And just because there’s a delay doesn’t mean the answer’s “no.” It’s not. He said it; He’ll do it.

God’s Way
It all comes down to expectations and trust. Sure, have your expectations. Stand on the word God gave you. Absolutely. Just don’t allow your heart to harden while God gears up to do things His way.

The people wanted a deliverer, but without the cross, no one could be saved. The people’s expectations became a tool God used that made much more sense after the suffering than before. The people crying “crucify Him” led closer to the cross. And I shudder to think where we’d be without the cross.

See, the Messiah is a Redeemer. And without the cross, there would be no redemption. That’s hope.

He redeems us.

He will redeem the time while we wait.

He will redeem the situation and work it out for our good.

They cried “crucify Him” Friday morning, but they didn’t know Sunday morning was coming. The day of victory, life, hope, change, breakthrough for Him, for us. Those who had rejected Him could now welcome Him again.

I wish we weren’t fickle. I wish we always made the right choices, always welcomed Him, always provided that respite of a lily among thorns. But then we wouldn’t need a Savior. A redeemer.

Oh, how we need Him.

Praise God for Good Friday. Take heart. We won’t wait forever. Resurrection Sunday is on its way!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

God said, “Look at Me!”

starry sky*
I don’t know about you, but God has me in a season of change, of growth. Like a farmer, he’s tilling the soil of my heart and digging up some rather unsightly rocks. Not a fun process. But I learned long ago the sooner I cooperate the sooner I get through the lessons. There’s only a battle if I fight His work. So, I try not to. Of course, that isn’t always true, but who’s perfect? 

Sometime in the last several weeks, I ran across the following passage. First a little setup: Moses was trying to get out of the calling God had for him. He didn’t want all the attention on him. He’d gone into hiding as a young murderer and didn’t want to come out. He was probably still ashamed of his overreaction way back when and wanted to stay out of sight, and out of judgment.  So, he’s trying to get out of God’s assignment: 

And Moses answered, “Look at me. I stutter. Why would Pharaoh listen to me?”
God told Moses, “Look at me. I’ll make you as a god to Pharaoh and your brother Aaron will be your prophet. You are to speak everything I command you, and your brother Aaron will tell it to Pharaoh. Then he will release the Israelites from his land.  (Exodus 6:30; 7:1-2 MSG)

When we’re tempted to get bogged down by the burden of our own weaknesses, we need to look at God instead, especially in the context of serving Him or following through on His assignment, but I think other times too.

Are you ever tempted to point out your weaknesses to God, rather than magnify Him? His strength is made perfect in our weakness (see 2 Cor. 12:9) . And if He calls you to something, He’ll make a way, though it may not be simple (remember all those Egyptian plagues?).  

Remember, too, God only points out our trouble stops in order to help us overcome, get free, or be healed. Never to condemn. God convicts; He doesn’t condemn His children.

Next time you’re overwhelmed by your own struggles or weaknesses, look at God instead. Let Him fill your vision. Let Him show you what He can do with you, in you, and through you. 

* Star picture courtesy by xedos4