Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Lament & Resurrection

Catch up on the series here:
1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8

And, here we are.  Holy week.

This week, we remember.  We remember Jesus washing His disciples' feet, the Last Supper, Jesus' dark night in Gethsemane, Judas' betrayal, Jesus arrested and condemned, the Cross, His death, the tomb...

And then, our favorite part...


Death, where is your sting?  Grave, where is your victory?

This week, we run the entire spectrum of emotion - grief to gladness, sorrow to celebration, death to life.  And that's what we've been journeying these eight weeks together in lament, haven't we?  Darkness to light, hope, healing, restoration and even resurrection!

In journeying through the darkness, in lamenting and becoming more acquainted with grief and sorrow, brokenness and barrenness, you will find restoration and resurrection all the more joyous.  In fact, lament is necessary to truly celebrate.

Let me explain.

Suppose you were never sick.  You'd never know the joy a cancer patient feels when she hears the word "remission" come from her doctor's mouth.

Suppose you have never been in debt.  You'd never know the relief that a man might feel when he learns an unexpected inheritance absolves his second mortgage, and then some.

Suppose you have never been enslaved.  You'd never know the thrill of freedom - making your own decisions and choosing your own destiny.

Suppose you have never struggled with singleness.  You'd never know the deep appreciation a former "old maid" had for her new husband.

Suppose you were never overweight.  You might never know the overwhelming satisfaction of finally fitting into that coveted pair of jeans.

Suppose you never lost a child.  You might never experience the incredible depth of gratitude in celebrating another year with your birthday boy.

Suppose you were never hungry.  You might never savor a steak as much as a starving person in Africa.

Suppose you had never experienced injustice...

Suppose you were never homeless...

Suppose you had never wrestled with depression.

Suppose you were righteous - never sinning a day in your life.  You'd have no need for a Savior.

Suppose He had never suffered and died...  Would Easter be as celebratory?  Would resurrection be as joyous?

In all of these situations, having never suffered or lost, you still might be generally thankful, you might be mildly appreciative and think, "Oh, that is so nice."  But, you may be missing out on a depth of joy and gratitude only those who have faced utter darkness and gut-wrenching loss might be able to grasp.

I'm not saying you should wish for cancer, just so you can find health more joyous.  I am not saying those of us who have not lost a child aren't thankful for the kiddos we do have.  I am just saying, when you have experienced struggle and suffering - whatever that might have looked like - it unlocks something...

A fresh perspective.

A whole new outlook.

Deeper depths of gratitude.  Higher mountaintops of joy.  Greater waves of love and compassion.

So...  Let's do ourselves a favor.

This Holy Week, let's not gloss over His suffering.  Let's not skip over the blood and gore and whipping and hammering and abandonment and loss.  Let's not look away or shield our eyes.  Don't forget the hell He descended to...  For you.  Sit in the sorrow for a while.  Let it soak in.  Let it affect you.

If you don't lament His suffering and death, you won't truly rejoice in His resurrection.

I'm betting those who know loss, who are acquainted with heartache, who are painfully aware of their own sin and who have felt the darkness looming heavy, are those who will be singing, "He's alive!  He is risen!  My Redeemer lives!" with the most gusto this Sunday.

Those who share in His sufferings will know the power of His resurrection.
He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken.  It will be said on that day, "Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us.  This is the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation."  -Isaiah 25:8+

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