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Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Heart of Faith and the Real Possibility of Second Chances

Easter is a holiday that I enjoy celebrating, but it comes at such a somber price.  During this week leading up to joy, I read about the cost required for victory.  Forgiveness never is fair, is it?  We don't get to the resurrection without the dying, and that is the part that weighs heavily on my mind today.

There is hope found in the most dire of places - a cruel betrayal, torture, humiliation, agony, isolation and death.  The process of sacrifice marks our example for obedience, sacrifice, love, honor, forgiveness and new life.  Yes, new life: Life that is different, marked, etched and set apart from what if once was.  Death leaves its scars on all of us, but it doesn't mean we are forever bound in its grip.

New life.  This is what I claim on Easter Sunday - Resurrection Day.  My worst moments have birthed my best.  What I once was, I am no longer.  Hope for my future dark days (I know there will be some).  Trust in the One who overcomes.

I do not speak profoundly, or with anything new to say.  I simply know today more than ever that while it was kindness that brought me first to Christ, it was pain that saw my heart transformed.  As a child, I couldn't fathom the reality of the cross and it's trauma.  I had not reference for the hate and brutality.  Today, from new across the world I can see the climate of hate that permitted such mob mentality.  I hate the pain for Him all those years ago.  I hate the pain in our world today.  I hated the pain in my own life and dread the pain I will witness in the lives of those I love.  Yet the very pain that I avoid is what allowed new life to emerge in me.  It is the miraculous way that God works to bring something good from even what is the worst in our world.  The horrific pain of the cross was the road new life in Christ.  I wish there was another way, but I am not God.

This is why we have Easter traditions in our home.  We color eggs to remember God always brings new life.  We talk about the last days of Christ and what it must have felt like to be betrayed.  We gather with our church to remember and honor His sacrifice.  We celebrate the Victory on Sunday, knowing it is only a shadow of the celebration to come.

Easter is all about pain.  God didn't choose to eliminate the pain from our world.  He used it then and uses it today.  No matter what has happened to you or what you have done to yourself, the pain doesn't have to be the end of the story.  We are a people of second chances who choose to believe the best is yet to be, whether here on earth or in the hereafter.  Easter is the heart of faith for Christians, but it doesn't eliminate the struggle.  It takes that struggle and makes it worth something, and that is where second chances (or third, and more) take root and bloom.

What is Your Response to Easter?

Some Easter Traditions in Our Family

The Old Can Be New Again

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