Sunday, March 20, 2016

It's Friday....But Sunday IS Coming!

It was a scary time and confusion reigned.  When I gave birth to my precious firstborn, I sensed he had a special life mission.  Upon reaching adulthood, learning the family trade and satisfying family obligations, he headed out into the world.

His choice of friends was a bit perplexing, coming from such varied backgrounds.  But I trusted my son to choose well.  He served others, brought healing into many lives and encouraged us with stories of his heavenly Father.  Through all of that, the (unholy) religious establishment was challenged.  As he stood for Truth and stirred up the authorities, I became increasingly fearful and anxious. Many a night, I tossed and turned while praying for my son.

One terrible dark night, everything began to come apart, at least it appeared that way at the time.  The storm clouds gathered and my son was arrested on trumped up charges, accused of “misleading the people”.  He was ultimately sentenced to death!  It all happened so fast; it was a nightmare and I wondered when I would awaken.

His friends abandoned him.  I was there, along with a few of my women friends and relatives.  Also one of my son’s close friends stayed the course while we watched him suffer…miserably….for hours... before his traumatic death. This mama was shell shocked, broken hearted and I felt incredibly helpless. 

After my son died, his body was placed in a tomb.  Not only was that tomb a dark place but everything surrounding that time was dark and discouraging.  With his friends all scattered, I began a terrible, lonely grieving process.  But buried deep within my heart, under all of the layers of suffocating sadness, there was a flicker of hope. I knew God had a plan.  That plan began 30+ years ago when the angel came to me to announce that I would conceive and give birth to God’s Son.

These words could have been the words of Mary, mother of Jesus. Obviously this is my imagined version of what Mary thought and felt on that “Good Friday”.  The scriptures don’t tell us all of these details but we do know the saints of the Bible were real people with real thoughts and feelings.

My husband and I recently had the privilege of entertaining a young, newly married couple in our home.  It was a wonderful time of fellowship, a time of sharing our stories.  Ashley and I were already acquainted; in fact we were regularly meeting together during the time Marvin courted her.  It was great to sit on the sidelines and cheer them on!

But I also had heard Marvin’s testimony at the occasion of his baptism.  His life, before he surrendered to Christ, included a lot of pain and many missteps.  He was, by his own description, going on a path that did not lead to joy and Jesus.

As with many of us, God used a "chance encounter" with another Christian to introduce Marvin to Jesus.  That “chance encounter” lead to a developing friendship and little by little, Marvin’s heart opened up.  One beautiful Sunday, during worship, Marvin could no longer resist the love of Christ and he surrendered his heart.  This young man had surely lived through many “Fridays” but his “Sunday” had come!

Matthew 27:50, “And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.”  Mark 15:37, “And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last.”  Luke 23: 46, “Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!’”  John 19:30, “When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, ‘It is finished’ and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”

That famous Friday It WAS finished but what His followers still didn’t understand…it was also the beginning!  The crucifixion of Friday means nothing without the resurrection on Sunday. AND, “Good Friday” leads the way to a full out celebration of Resurrection Sunday/Easter! 

If you live in my area, come join us Friday evening, 7pm, Grace Church in Gladstone, MI.  And remember, Sunday is coming! (Sunday services are 9:15am and 11am.)


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