Nature is an amazing thing. Every day new flowers bloom after their predecessors die, new saplings spout after their tall ancestors are chopped down, and new life is born as old life withers.
We are given night and day. What a gift! Each day offers a new perspective on old problems after a night of sleep. Even sleep is a gift.
In the Old Testament, Adam and Eve turned the gift of a full and flourishing nature into a dying hardship. But God promised hope. In covenant after covenant, He promised love. And when the creature of Time was fulfilled, He gave Love.
The sacrifice of Jesus on the cross cannot be forgotten. In a popular Christian song, the words, “Living he loved me, dying he saved me, buried he carried my sins far away” are prophetic. Jesus had to die.
It was not a pretty death that was quick and painless. Scourging is painful. The leather tassels at the end of the whip are designed to inflict excruciating pain.
Crucifixion is designed to slowly suffocate its victim while mentally imposing as much humiliation as possible. Nails are different than ropes. Nails affix the victim to the splintered wood, tearing the shoulders out of their sockets.
Why do I describe a horror that we’d all like to forget? Because without the SACRIFICE, there could be no REDEMPTION. The hard part came first.
And yet, WE are spared. We sin, we ask for forgiveness and it is granted.
Jesus took the weight of our sins upon himself. How often do we thank him for that sacrifice? That is what these next couple of days are about. Remembering the sacrifice that led to everlasting hope.
Easter is not only a time to celebrate the Resurrection that makes our eternal life possible, but a time to reflect on what came first.
Just as at the end of each day our hearts are heavy with regret and disappointment, the promise of the next day gives our thirsty souls hope. We are not abandoned! Nature reminds us that as the old dies, the new lives. The Casting Crowns' song continues to say that "Rising He justified freely forever..."
Thank God for that reminder! Treasure the gift that gives us hope. And be forever grateful for the sacrifice.