You’re about to see one of those pictures that might even be worth more than a thousand words. So brace yourself. For those of you who don’t know, my current home is one of the last two standing in what is now the commercial end of town. Twenty-thousand cars pass by my front yard every day. Turning left out of my driveway can be a real lesson in patience sometimes. It’s not unusual for this Potter County girl who grew up in the sticks to leave tire marks in the grass because I’ve high-tailed it through the back yard, behind a commercial building, and out the alley behind a convenience store, where I can turn right and get to a light bringing me out to the road I couldn’t get on in front of my house. (I know that’s a run-on sentence, but it’s rather fitting I think.)
I tell you this to set the scene, (you’ll see in a minute that I do make one) for my family’s annual hunt for their Easter baskets. I’m a bit of an obnoxious Easter Bunny. Before they can have their first clue hidden in an egg, they have to sing a song I made up about myself. Some of the lyrics are:
“Well she is the Easter Bunny. We’re well aware of all her fame. Even though she is our Mommy, and we know her and her name. She’s the coolest Easter Bunny that has every hopped the plain. Well she is the Easter Bunny, and it’s time to play her game…”
Put those words to the tune of “Do your ears hang low” and if you’re not careful, it’ll get stuck in your head. Before you know it, you too will be singing about what an awesome bunny I am!
Each clue (rhyming, of course) leads to the next egg with another clue, which eventually leads to their baskets full of loot. The loot being the proverbial carrot at the end of the stick (pun intended) that makes them willing to go through such torture. As if their mother dressed as a giant bunny isn’t enough, the bunny often makes them hop to each location, and you can be sure that I always hide at least one egg in the front yard next to the busy road. For the record, my husband refuses to hop…He doesn’t get as much loot in his basket.
So now that you know I’m into the silliness and fun of the holiday, can I point out the obvious? “Holiday” comes from the words Holy and Day. We all know that, but it stands to be said with all the commercialism and crazy bunnies hopping around distracting us from the real reason we celebrate.
To sum it up, the God and Creator of the Universe loved us so much that He entered this cursed world by taking on the nature of a man so that He could be the final sacrifice, atoning for the collective sins of humanity, and giving us the option of trusting Him with our lives and eternity. (No offense on calling it “cursed world”. I love the world God made for us, but it’s really under a curse. Read the book of Genesis.)
So I’ve stated the obvious, but there’s more. Not only did God grant us a means by which we might obtain eternal life with Him in Heaven, but Jesus told us that He came that we might have abundant life. He also said that in this world we would see troubles. So how does that add up?
Before sin entered the world, there was no separation between God and man. And frankly, He missed those garden walks with his creation in the cool of the day. (Again, read Genesis.) God is merciful, yet just in character, therefore, someone must die for our sins. (That would be us.) But God loved us too much to let that happen.
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. ~Romans 6:23 (NIV)
Enter Jesus the Son, fully God, taking on the cloak of humanity, a perfect, sinless sacrifice to take our place. Just before Jesus exhaled his last breath, releasing his Spirit into the hands of the Father, He said these words: “It is finished.” Suddenly all kinds of mayhem erupted. It became pitch black even though it was the middle of the day and the very foundations of the earth shook. But something else happened that is extraordinary.
The veil that separated the most sacred inner room of the temple where only the high priest could enter but once a year was thick and woven with mastery. This room behind the veil was where God’s presence resided which was so powerful that they would tie a rope to the ankle of that high priest just in case he would be overwhelmed when he entered and drop dead. The rope would be the only way to get him out. The moment Jesus breathed his last, the Bible tells us that the veil was ripped from top to bottom – torn completely in two by the hands of the Father himself signifying to us that we are now free to boldly approach the very throne of God.
So why are we so timid about that? Sadly wrong theology, teaching, or perhaps scars from our earthly fathers have given so many of us such a distorted image of our Heavenly Father. We are comfortable with Jesus. After all, he walked in our shoes. He became human. But Jesus said that if you’ve seen Him, you’ve seen the Father. (They, Holy Spirit included, are one…something we struggle to grasp.)
I’m grateful for the parable Jesus told about the persistent widow in Luke 18:1-8. This woman wanted justice, and wouldn’t be ignored by a judge who didn’t give a rip about God or mankind. She kept coming back day after day so that finally the judge was so sick of her, he gave attention to her need, and granted her petition.
Jesus tells us that we can approach the throne of The Father with that kind of boldness, knowing that if a calloused judge like that will grant such a request, how much more the God who loved us enough to place our sins on the shoulders of His only begotten Son.
I must confess, I have been that persistent widow of late. There are circumstances in my life that merit the need for me to be on my face before the throne of God in the form of praying without ceasing. I’ve been hammering God with my laments day after day, after week, after month. And I finally got a word from Him. Would you like to know what it is?
“Delight in Me.”
What? I’m struggling under the weight of the burdens I’m in need of You to rescue me from, and You say to delight in you? To borrow the phrase, “My tears have been my food”, and you want me to “delight”? But then this passage of Scripture began to flood over my mind:
Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. ~Psalm 37:4 (ESV)
Do you know that when we take our eyes off our ugly, sin-infested, jacked-up circumstances, placing them at His feet, and fix our eyes on the Lord, His magnificence is so glorious that we can know delight? The more time we spend in relationship with Him, the more we come to understand that His ways, thoughts, and timing are perfect, and we can trust Him. That trust translates to faith…the mountain-moving kind.
So this Easter, in the midst of all the hub-bub, chocolate, and crazy rabbits, I hope that you not only remember that Christ’s finished work on the cross has given those who accept it, the gift of eternal life with Him, but also the promise of an abundant life here and now in this cursed and chaotic world. The curtain was torn in two, and we have a Father who desires to walk in a delightful relationship with us.
Enjoy my latest song, share this if you feel so inclined, and have a delightful Easter friends.