Are you still basking in the reflective glow of the Easter weekend?
Over the past several days the beauty of that empty tomb that we celebrate every year has been a most positive reflection as I look into the mirror of my life and all that Christ has done to not only give meaning to these days in which we live, but also to add the eternal perspective to these times as well. There is one passage of scripture that consistently has come to mind to help us to celebrate the Easter message. That passage is found in 1 Peter 1:3-4, 6-7: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade — kept in heaven for you… In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
In reflecting on these verses, it seems clear that in the afterglow of the Easter message, the “resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” every true Christ-follower in the real world today can rejoice in what he or she can personally owns as a result of what happened that first Easter Sunday morning. Because Jesus rose from the dead, we have an undying hope, an inexhaustible inheritance, a magnificent destination (heaven), not to mention a joyful heart.
But one of the most important aspects of the Easter message is faith. Faith simply means trusting. Faith is like muscles; the more faith is exercised, the stronger it grows. And faith is only as good as its object. If you are trusting in yourself, or others, your faith will only be strong so long as you or that other person never let you down. If you are trusting in God, no matter what it may seem like, He will never let you down. When God allows us to stretch and grow our faith through current circumstances, it is not to take us down but to make us strong. It’s like the runner in training for a marathon. The pain of running eight miles today is worth it when crossing the finish line next week.
To illustrate this point, let me ask you a very simple question: Do you ever get impatient? Many times and in many conversations, I find myself getting impatient. Almost every time I read or listen to a news broadcast of any sort, my irritation comes to a frothing head. I say, “God, why aren’t you doing something about this mess we are living in?” Have you ever felt that way?
Pastor John Onwuchekwa tells about watching the 2021 NCAA men’s basketball championship game between Baylor and Gonzaga: “I was watching the game intently, texting my friends as I watched. There came a time when [Baylor] took out one of its star players. And Gonzaga started to make this run. And I was infuriated. I was in the group chat saying, ‘I can’t believe that they did that. Things are gonna turn out bad.” And, my friend said, “What are you talking about? He’s back in.”
And I realized there was a lag in my internet connection. As the game went on, the lag started to get worse. The announcer’s voice would say, “And he made the shot.” But on my screen the guy would be dribbling. And then he would shoot it and the shot went in. And I realized, oh, there’s a lag in my connection. I was so anxious about really wanting us to win that when I discovered there was a lag in my connection, I didn’t log on to fix it, I just let it stay there. Do you know why? Because I trusted the announcer’s voice. I didn’t think that he was going to lie. I know that his word preceeded what would happen. So, I let him speak. And I waited. I didn’t worry. I celebrated when he spoke, not when I saw what took place.
My friends, it is so important for each of us to grasp and understand the fact that because of the broken world that we live in there is a lag in your connection. We’re going to have to wait. And that is what I mean by faith. But we mustn’t worry. You and I can trust God’s Word. He lets us know what is going to happen before it happens. He’s never let us down. And he never will.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
How strong is your faith? Are you trusting Him today — for today? I sincerely hope so.
Chuck Tabor is a religion columnist The Times-Gazette and a former Hillsboro area pastor. He cany be reached at [email protected]