The time is April, 1966- Easter season and my freshman year at Luther South High School. I am standing alone in the basement of Ashburn Lutheran Church in Chicago, wearing my ‘stylish’ new pointy-tipped shoes. I am acutely aware of my mother’s absence. She has been in a sanitarium for the past 3 months with tuberculosis. At that point, her stay is indefinite- until her TB no longer is active. It would have been very easy to focus on missing her presence, but the Lord in His mercy provided consistent and enduring reminders of His goodness- our next-door neighbors, the Podewells, who had my dad and me over for dinner every Thursday; a grandma (dad’s mom) who cleaned the house every Monday and always provided a Sunday noon meal.
Chafing under Roman rule, the Palm Sunday throng which hailed Jesus as Messiah would shout for His crucifixion 5 days later. Their suffering focused on relief from finite, earthly circumstances, which blinded them to the realization that the permanent, eternal change needed was in the heart. Only a faith-filled heart would enable them to find daily evidence of God’s blessing and provision even in the midst of adversity.
Nicole Mullen has a beautiful song entitled “My Redeemer Lives”. Consider these words:
The very same God that spins things in orbit
Runs to the weary, the lame and the weak.
And the same gentle hands that hold me when I’m broken,
They conquered death to bring me victory.
The Creator of the universe holds, comforts, and lifts us up! Jesus, His son, won the ultimate victory over sin and death through His resurrection. As we celebrate the Easter story, let’s also rejoice and consciously commit to those rituals that will help us appropriate God’s daily blessings, even in the midst of adversity.
He is risen! He is risen indeed!