So many days something gets in the way…
… a like experience gets in the way of allowing another’s outcome to be different…
… a like emotion gets in the way of our perception being objective…
… independence gets in the way of relying on who may be wiser…
… and intelligence gets in the way of accepting what may seem less logical at times.
Experience, emotion, independence, and intelligence — all great things. But all things, if we’re honest, that we have to admit can sometimes get in the way.
Today is Easter Sunday, a day celebrated by multiple billions across all continents, celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Said Charles Colson, the one-time Special Counsel to Pres. Richard Nixon — known as Nixon’s “hatchet man”— who later made a radical life change, recognizing the reality of Jesus:
“I know the resurrection is a fact, and Watergate proved it to me. How? Because 12 men testified they had seen Jesus raised from the dead, then they proclaimed that truth for 40 years, never once denying it. Every one was beaten, tortured, stoned and put in prison. They would not have endured that if it weren’t true. Watergate embroiled 12 of the most powerful men in the world — and they couldn’t keep a lie for three weeks. You’re telling me 12 apostles could keep a lie for 40 years? Absolutely impossible.”
Yet the reality remains that sometimes something gets in the way. Sometimes we can’t see the “absolutely impossible.”
Maybe it’s an experience or emotion.
Maybe it’s our independence or intelligence.
Maybe it’s we’ve had conversations with other Christians, but there was such judgment in their listening.
Maybe they forced a conclusion they had pre-determined.
Maybe they didn’t allow me to draw my own conclusions.
Maybe the church hurt me.
Maybe it just doesn’t seem to meaningfully relate to culture any more.
Understandably, all of the above can get in our way.
Leading up to Easter is Good Friday, the day two days prior, acknowledging the death of Jesus. Without Easter Sunday, to be clear, Good Friday isn’t “good.” In current culture, we know it to be true, because “Sunday is coming,” says the familiar refrain. But 2,000 years ago, society didn’t have that same awareness; the believers thought it was done. Over. And the crazy, amazing hope they had and confidence for the future was pierced by a pain they never imagined. It was truly a time of lament, a time of unparalleled sorrow.
If I’m honest, that’s an emotion I can skip over pretty fast… Ok, I get it. Check. Jesus comes back on Sunday. In other words, I can be somewhat numb to the reality of what happened.
Two days ago, no less, my family attended a Good Friday gathering. It was a time intentionally focused on that lament, saving the celebration for today. It was me, my spouse, and our son, Joshua.
I have spoken about Josh many times here. Why? Because through my 17 year son with Down syndrome, God teaches me more than I could have ever learned elsewhere. Truly, it is nothing short of profound. With him — far more often than with me — all that independence and intelligence doesn’t get in the way.
When we got in the car following the gathering, Josh started to sob.
He got it.
He was wrestling with his own walk and wonder…
Am I experiencing the wonder of a life with Christ?
Is my life marked by his nearness, voice, and presence?
Is something else getting in the way?
Once again, God teaches me through Josh. And that’s my prayer… that we wrestle with the walk and wonder… as each of us, always, has more places to learn and grow.
Happy Easter, friends.