Today is Good Friday and we remember that Jesus went to the cross for you and for me. Today we solemnly thank Jesus for laying down His life in obedience to the Father so that we could find mercy and grace. This week is Holy Week in the church calendar--the culmination of the entire church year as we acknowledge what Christ did for us through death and celebrate the hope we have in His resurrection.
This week Andrew and I have been led on a journey that I feel is appropriate for this important week. The Lord has made the themes of obedience and self-sacrificing love just a little more real to us.
We had a college group visiting us all week, joining us for a week of service and exposure. We spent time doing work projects and led sessions where we challenged them to set aside their expectations for life and follow Jesus wherever He leads them. In one session we watched and discussed a video sermon from Francis Chan. In this sermon he challenges people to live biblically, which for most of the world will look radical and risky but for Christ-followers should be completely normal. Carve out an hour to watch it, you will not be disappointed You can find it here.
Andrew and I also received a call about an adoption case this week. One of the emotional challenges of this process is the vast and stormy seas of unknowns. I feel constantly kept off balance trying to adjust my expectations to new things God challenges us with about the age, the number, the challenges of children we might adopt. We find ourselves being forced into uncomfortable conclusions only to accept them, grow comfortable with them, and then be challenged all over again. And, for someone who likes to be in control I have taken each in stride, unusually going with the flow. But not this time.
As I wrestled with my expectations I felt restless, overwhelmed, and emotional. I couldn't find my feet until slowly I started letting the words that were bouncing around in my head to take root. I heard the message of Francis Chan echoing in my heart, which really is the message of Christ. It asked me, how far will you go for Christ? What will you pour out in an offering of obedience? I think about what we celebrate today, and really we celebrate Christ's humility and obedience, even unto death. And we know that Christ asks us to follow Him. That's uncomfortable and scary and sometimes seems impossible until you realize it's the only logical choice you have. It doesn't make sense to our world view but we serve a God that says you can only find your life if you lose it and that you must die to really live. And we serve a God who loved us enough to walk that path first as our example.
Today I feel at peace. I know that Andrew and I have submitted our hearts in obedience to what God has been speaking to us this week. I wish I could say I did it without a fight, but when I finally stopped wrestling I felt the peace that surpasses all understanding. I don't know what God has planned for our future and our family, but I do know that Jesus will continue to ask us to lay down more and more of what is dear to us in order to be more like Him. I do know that all I can do is be obedient with what God has put in front of me today and let Him take care of the rest. I do know that not everyone will always understand the steps that God asks us to take.
But how can we not take them in faith, when Jesus' journey of obedience took Him to the cross for us? How can I not lose every last expectation and idol stored up in my selfish heart in obedience to the God in whom my life is found? How can I not be caught up in the beautiful, upward call of Christ that promises hope and victory if we will follow Christ to the cross?
In Christ death is defeated, sin is conquered, darkness is transformed: what is there left to fear? That is why we call today Good Friday, because our God is good and He includes us in His victory!
Rejoice and follow Him!