Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Others--Day 13

In beginning this fourteen day adventure I embraced a challenge. A challenge to my creative abilities and my spiritual discernment and obedience. But as always, God had something greater in mind. He had my transformation in mind. Not just mine, but possibly others, but mine nonetheless. And I wasn’t ready for this. I wasn’t ready.

Are we ever? Are we prepared for what God has planned?

Were the disciples ready for the events of the third day?   Were the twelve men and all the company ready for Sunday?

Sunday, the day of Resurrection was surreal. Peter, Mary and John fell onto their bed pallets that night and pinched themselves in the dark to assure themselves they were still among the living.

Sunday was the day of the impossible becoming the possible.

Did they ask, “Is this real? Is this a beautiful idea? Is this just the manifestation of our hopes? Of our wishful thinking? How do we know? ”

Each time Jesus came to them was a confirmation of the reality they were beginning to understand.

I had a conversation with a friend this week. A hard conversation. My friend asked hard questions. And made some tough statements. On Easter weekend—the weekend of the impossible becoming possible—my friend challenged my faith.

We were discussing the reality of the faith. Is God just a good idea? Is he just an extension of our hopes?

My friend said, “I compare it [belief and faith] to "hearing stories of George Washington"...and seeing pictures of him in his black and white portraits and in the painting of him in his gallant pose crossing the Delaware. I hear the stories...I see the pictures...I tell the stories...I show the pictures......but that is all it remains....stories and pictures.....even though I've been told George Washington is real....etc etc.....he remains a story.

Soldiers followed Washington into battle even though they couldn’t see him. Some of the soldier’s never laid eyes on Washington. They followed because they saw the affects of Washington’s strategic leadership and benefited from the fruit of his character. Soldiers whose feet blistered and bled, whose stomachs caved and then bloated from hunger,  weren’t just following an idea. They were following a man. A real one.

Twelve men walked away from the Resurrection reality and based their entire lives on the fact that Jesus was alive. They based their life not on a story. Not on pictures.

And they told others. Then others told others. Others told others. And others told others…and others told us.

The Resurrection was and is not just a story. I am writing not because of an idea, but because a man invested his life in others. So much that they lived and died incredible and horrible lives and deaths to declare the good news.

In the midst of the Washington conversation, I got another email. A friend from high school. I read and reread the email and sat in shock. Tears ran down my face. He delivered some hard news.

A precious friend had passed away. 45 year old Tim was gone.  

Tim was one of the others in my life.  

Tim was a part of a group who introduced me to Jesus—not just an idea. He didn’t just tell me the stories of Jesus or show me the pictures. He allowed me to be privy to what God had done and openly shared the changes God wrought in him.  At school and in other places I witnessed the affects of these changes in Tim. He wanted my life to be changed and transformed. Tim helped pray me into the kingdom. He invested in me because Jesus and others had invested in him.

As a result, you are reading this blog.

I have never laid eyes on Jesus.

But I have seen the affects of his incredible leadership. I have benefited from the fruit of his ministry. I am a recipient of his transforming power. I do not even remotely resemble the person I was becoming 28 years ago.

I have experienced his salvation.

A story is a powerful thing, but I am not willing to give my life to just a story.

My Washington friend wants the reality. I want the reality. We want to live our lives in the power of the Resurrection. We don’t just want to tell stories. We don’t just want to show pictures.

To live like this we will have to have faith—because faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.* Every time that hope fades or the certainty dwindles I remind myself of what I have seen and experienced. I go back and recount and remember.

On Sunday Tim experienced The Resurrection. His faith became sight. He entered the Reality.

When all of heaven was watching us here, when the witnesses of heaven were leaning over and looking in as we cried and proclaimed, “He’s alive!”—

Tim stood and gazed into the face of Jesus and nodded, “Yes! Yes, he is. He’s alive!”

Someday my friend and I will do the same.

Please join us.

*Hebrews 11:1

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