The boys in this sweet picture would be my son and grandson, Phillip and Weston. It’s all I can do not to start with the miracle it depicts, but first, a story…
My sisters and I know a few things about forced celebrations. We participated in our fair share of ’em while traveling with our parents on those long ago vacations. Granted, we were a regular backseat trio of discontented warriors. We complained, we argued, and we fought until Papa would break in with one of his infamous rulings.
“We’re on vacation,” Papa would say. “And we’re going to have fun! If you girls know what’s good for you, y’all will act like you’re enjoying yourselves, whether you are or not!”
At that point we girls would try to comply because we did indeed know what was good for us. We were poor actresses, putting on happy faces because it’s what was expected of us instead of authentic responses to what we were experiencing.
Friend, I hope this column finds you smack dab in the middle of an all out celebration of Jesus and His finished work at the cross. I pray you’re not going through the motions of this holy season out of a sense of tradition or because it’s what’s expected of you. The death, burial, and resurrection of our Savior deserves so much more from us. As we approach resurrection Sunday, I ask you to consider a verse in Isaiah that reminds me of those “don’t worry be happy” pronouncements of Papa’s.
“Cry aloud and shout, thy inhabitant of Zion, for great in the midst of thee is the Holy One of Israel.” Isaiah 12.6
It’s Good Friday, a day when believers the world over mark the Crucifixion of Christ and His death at Calvary. And yet, even in our somber reflection, we know that Resurrection Sunday is on it’s way and because our Savior died for us, we have the joy of living with Him! This miracle, this privilege of having the Holy One in our midst is without a doubt worthy of crying aloud and shouting, Isaiah style, but let’s be honest. If we understand He is with us as fact, but we aren’t experiencing His Presence as a reality, our celebration is going to sound forced at best.
Sadly, I believe the church has grown used to merely acting like new life in Christ is shouting ground instead of actually experiencing it. While intellectually we agree that living with God in our very midst should work us up into the type of daily celebration depicted in Isaiah, far too often we accept a paler version. I’ve come to think of it as less-than living. But, I’ve got solid good news, y’all! Less-than living is not biblical and it’s a permanent condition only for those who allow it to be.
If you’ll settle for nothing less than genuine intimacy with God, you can find yourself crying aloud and shouting with genuine Biblical passion.
Now, before I bid everyone farewell and go back to loving on — count ’em– FIVE grands under five, I’d like to share some most wonderful news with y’all. Easter 2014 will go down in our family as a season of wholly undeserved favor from the One True God who hears and answers prayer. This Good Friday finds each of us trying to figure out how to adequate express our deep gratitude. My daughter-in-law will catch you up on the details here: ProvidenceCarey.com
Afterwards, I hope you’ll join us in stacking up praise! He has indeed risen, and He is forever worthy!