What God Does With Death

It’s Easter week. My heart’s focus is redemption. More than any other time of year, this week calls to me, it grabs my attention and makes me take a long look at life. And in this process of discovery, there are truths that I don’t want to forget. One of the main truths I see is what God does with death.

I’m not just talking about physical death. I’m talking about the death of hopes and dreams, death of desires and passions: the death of the heart. Let’s be honest with each other—sometimes externally we’re entirely alive but inside we are absolutely dead.

And there’s probably a very understandable reason (or perhaps a whole list) that explains why we are dead. While important to our condition, the reasons are not the focus of what happens next.

Think about the whole focus of Easter and ask yourself this question, “What does God do with death?” And hear the answer, full of love and tenderness, “He brings life.”

Jesus chose death.

His family, his friends, his followers, and even his enemies all thought it was over.  But God wasn’t finished, because he does something incredible with death.

He brings life.

And that gives me hope. Because I know death. I know human death and I know the kind of death that tries to creep in and suffocate. If we’re honest, we all know the kind of death that tries to steal our hopes and dreams. The “death” that wants us to give up. But I’m telling you that you have a choice. Don’t give up! Hang firm on this belief: death is not the end—it’s a new beginning.

Jesus didn’t stay dead. God had this incredible redemption plan for Jesus and he has one for us too. Resurrected life. Jesus lay in the tomb 3 days. To those on the outside it looked like everything was over. But, deep inside that tomb, there was something remarkable happening.

And that very same remarkable thing happens in our lives.

Jesus rested in the Father’s hands for 3 days. And then came the RESURRECTION! He came out of the tomb and was practically unrecognizable. He had to prove who he was by his scars.

And I promise you this: God still has the same plan. The answer to death is always life. When some piece of our life dies, God asks us to place ourselves in his hands and rest. In that place of rest he breathes life over us. He restores our soul, he renews our mind and he revives our heart. But that won’t happen unless we let go and rest.

So maybe this Easter week you find yourself in this very place. You’re broken, beaten and the weight of life is crushing you.  Maybe you’ve come here unexpectedly or perhaps you saw it coming. How you arrived doesn’t matter. Why you’re dead inside doesn’t matter. What matters is that death is not the end and this IS your time for life.

If that’s you, then I’m asking you to be intentional to the place of surrender. Lay aside the deadness and your perception of personal responsibility and circumstantial disappointment. Simply rest in your Father’s embrace. Allow him to renew you from the inside out, and stay as long as it takes.

His plan for you is LIFE, and it’s going to be glorious! When you come out of this tomb, you (and probably others) will only recognize the “you that used to be” because you still have the scars. The scars are a reminder of what was, but now life takes center stage in the radiance of hope restored and dreams revived. RESURRECTION! Faith and passion become focused determination to live this “redemption story”.

But you have to make the choice to believe that death is not the end. It’s a choice to embrace surrender. And yes, this choice costs something, but the blessings far outweigh the cost.

Life is captivating, and it’s coming for you. Love. God’s love. It’s coming for you. Open your heart and get ready. It’s time for resurrection.

God is real, he is alive, and his love brings us to life!

 

 

A Day for Celebration

Everyday.  To me, celebration is necessary.  It is relevant, and it inspires.  When I’m looking for a reason to celebrate, then I will surely find one.  Some days the celebrations are obvious, some days they are hidden.  Regardless, there is something worth celebrating every single day.

Look for it.  Seek it out.  On the gray days, dig deep, keep your eyes wide, and refuse to believe that celebration is not meant for you.

Why?

Maybe you’re in the midst of a struggle and can’t find it.  But Jesus is celebrating you. He’s cheering you on.  He rallies to your side.  He sees your struggle and your fierce determination.  You haven’t given up. You are loved.   And that’s reason to celebrate.

I think about all the people I’ve lost and what I miss the most are not the huge “party type” moments.  No, it’s the little ones.  I miss the moments that seemed insignificant- the moments that I wouldn’t have thought I’d remember years later.  But I do.  I miss the quiet celebration in my heart over 5 minute phone calls with my dad about nothing.  We simply talked about the day. And simplicity didn’t seem significant then, but it does now.

So I will celebrate- with good food, hard work, and satisfying rest.  I will celebrate with laughter over funny youtube videos and “minion speak” with my kids.  I will celebrate with 5 minute conversations and holding hands.

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And in that place of celebration, my heart is satisfied.

 

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