Friday, April 10, 2009

thoughts on Good Friday

I spent some time this morning reading the 26th chapter of Matthew, reflecting on Good Friday and the sacrifice that my Savior made for me (and YOU!)

Christ prayed three times, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will." (verses 39, 43 and 44)

He had already proclaimed that he was going to be betrayed and that he was going to nailed to a tree. He had some idea of the excruciating pain (both physically and emotionally) that He was going to have to suffer. He knew that His Father was trustworthy, good and loved Him. BUT, I'm not sure that He necessarily knew what lie on the other side of the hell He was going to walk through.

He knew the gift He was giving, but the cost of that gift caused Him to cry to the point of sweating blood. My brain can't even begin to fathom all that Jesus experienced.

I have personally experienced betrayal before. Someone that I loved and trusted hurt someone that is very, very, VERY dear to me. I had no idea the amount of devastation and pain this person was capable of or what the aftermath of their actions were going to look like. Had I know, I would begged, pleaded and cried out to God to let the cup of suffering pass. (Actually, if I had known, I would done everything possible to prevent it from happening. That said, it wasn't God's plan for our lives and I know that.)

However, God knew what was going to happen. AND, He allowed it because He knew what was on the other side of the suffering. He allowed us to walk through the fires of hell. Yes, our suffering was horrific, but nothing compared to what my Savior experienced.

The new life that we experienced on the other side was something beyond my wildest imagination. Would I have chosen to allow the painful betrayal, had I known there were such amazing blessings on the other side? I honestly have to say, "NO!" My brain was unable to imagine what good could possibly have come from something so very evil.

However, I am thankful that God did choose to allow us to taste some of what His Son experienced. That in itself is such a humbling gift because God does not allow us to experience true joy, freedom, life and resurrection until we have experienced extreme pain and loss.

We simply aren't capable of understanding the gift of light until we have experienced absolute darkness.

We aren't able to comprehend true love until we have experienced deep hatred.

We aren't able to receive life until we have in fact died.

We aren't able to have true compassion for others unless we too have suffered in a way similar to them.

I have a far greater understanding of what Jesus did for me because of what God allowed me to walk through. Jesus has a greater compassion for humans because God allowed Him to walk in our skin and flesh. Incredible, isn't it?

Deep thoughts on a Friday, eh? I know that much of what I am saying will come across as Greek for those of you who have yet to experience your own Garden of Gethsemane. If you have yet to find yourself begging God to take the cup of suffering from you, only later to find yourself on the brink of death feeling completely abandoned by your God, my words may fall terribly flat.

On one hand, that's good because pain STINKS. On the other hand, please know that if/when life deals you a devastating shock, hold tight. There IS life after death and joy after pain. Really.

"From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, ama sabachthani?"—which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:45, NIV)

There were days in the midst of our grief and pain that we felt forsaken. It was so painful and frightening. And yet. We were never alone. God was with us, leading us and preparing us to be able to fully comprehend His power, His grace and His incredible love for us.

If you are in the middle of a storm right now--if you are grieving, hurt or feel alone, I am extremely sorry for your pain. As much as I want to reassure you that God is still good and that He loves you very much, this is something that He longs to show you for yourself.

I can tell you that He is still with you, you are not alone and there is a more going on than what you are able to see. Keep walking through the fire. It is meant for your good (your refinement) and not your harm. Yes, it's painful, but it will result in new life! I promise!!!

God loves you so very much, my Friend. I guarantee you that no matter how deep the pain or how significant the loss, He will not let a single moment of suffering go to waste. God IS love.

I pray that your days leading up to Easter are full of quiet moments of reflection and time spent talking to the One who gave His precious life and love for you (and ME!)

LIVING A BLESSED LIFE because of a carpenter who allowed His body to be nailed to a piece of wood on my behalf.



Becky Ryder said...

Great post! I pray your family has a blessed Easter. Thanks for your boldness and inspiring words.

sara said...

Oh, Amy - I just read this after watching the video, "The Day True Love Died" and my heart is quieted. I want to pause & think of HIM, on a cross, for ME. For you. For all of us......

Happy Easter


Andy and Wendy Ingram said...

Oh Amy, this is sooo true to what the resurrection is all about. A couple years ago, God allowed me to get really, really ill to the point of facing loss of my own life, for Him to bring me new life and hope in Him alone. He taught me personally about being my Redeemer, Overcomer, Healer, Tower of Strength, Refiner, Deliverer, Restorer, and so much more. He gave our family so many promises to claim about being my redeemer (Is.50:2). I love the verse in Malichi 3:3 about how he sits right beside us to refine us. I found out personally in the midst of our storm, desert, and valley that there are treasures hidden in darkness. Also, Is.48:10"See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction." God told me in Is. 45:3 "there are treasures hidden in darkeness". I had to get to the point of complete trust and surrendering all, my husband, my kids, and my own health and life. It was the most painful, yet the most beautiful experience at the same time and their was beauty from ashes during that time. He taught me that he is simply enough when we surrender all. I understand personally, what you are talking about with your blog, even though our circumstances have been different. I know this Easter weekend life is all about my Savior! Wow, thank you so much for this incredible post reminding me personally who my Savior is and who the Lord has and continues to be to us! I hope you enjoy celebrating new LIFE this wonderful Easter! Praying for many blessings for you and your family tonight!

Sophie said...

Amen! What an amazing God we serve! And the fact that He loves us and wants us to serve Him is such a privilege. Thanks for your thoughts.