Hope Restored

Easter always provokes such incredible reflection and contemplation from me. For many believers in the Christian faith, it represents the cornerstone of our faith journey, the culmination of Jesus’ mission and ministry on earth. It is the pinnacle of everything that we hope for and the major event that anchors our faith. And, with all that it holds for each and every believer around the globe, it carries one more touch of sentimental value to my faith journey. This is the time and season when I, as a young child, felt the tug and touch of the Holy Spirit on my heart, and surrendered my life to Christ. The moment when you encounter Jesus in such a tangible way that it moves you to surrender is one you will never forget, no matter how young or how old you are when it happens.

I was all of seven years old, and I was at school assembly during Holy Week. The Word was being preached, and the invitation to accept Christ as Lord and Savior was extended. I don’t remember who was around me, or who was even sharing the message. But I remember feeling this sense that I wanted Jesus, and so I asked Him to take up residence in my heart and life. Now, I am the daughter of a pastor, who is in a lineage of pastors and ministers of the Gospel. Jesus was no foreign entity to me. I sat under my father’s preaching from infancy, and went to a school where the Bible was taught. But it had to be a personal decision for me. My parents dedicated me to the Lord when I was a baby, promising to do all they could to teach me the ways of the Lord. At the same time, salvation is free and something that you freely accept as a choice. So, I made a choice, one that I admit now, I barely understood what it meant beyond wanting to behave in a way that would make Jesus happy. After all, how deep can a seven year old be about the mystical nature of faith?

Anyway, I remember when I made the proclamation in service the following Easter Sunday. The congregation erupted into praise and celebration, and now I understand that the celebration that went on in Heaven was a thousand times greater than the overwhelming celebration that I witnessed as I stated, in my black and white polka dot outfit (hats, gloves, and all), that I accepted Jesus into my heart as my Lord and Savior. From that moment till now, I can say with conviction that that was the greatest decision I have ever made. So much has happened in the years following that confession of faith, but God has remained faithful and true. He has called me to ministry, I have preached an initial sermon, and participated in a variety of ministries as His Spirit has led me. Writing this blog is one of those outlets for me. But, even with all that, He has steadily been walking beside me.

There is a well-known poem called “Footprints” that has been the greatest illustration, to me, of the journey of faith that all of us are on. When things get tough, and you feel like God has left you alone to fend for yourself, it is often in those moments that He sees that you have gotten too weary and He picks you up in His arms and carries you until you have regained the strength to continue walking. I could tell you of times when, as I looked back over them, I know for certain that He was carrying me.

Easter is the happy ending to the greatest Love story ever written. The Man gives His life for His beloved, to redeem her and bring her back home. Who wouldn’t want to be rescued? Yes, that’s what Jesus did when He died on the cross and then rose back to life on Easter morning. His entire life was devoted to rescuing humanity from the death penalty we deserved for our sins. Love held him to the cross, when He could have called down legions of angels to deliver Him and leave us in our sin state. But a profound and overwhelming love for humanity kept him on the cross, and he carried out his mission to the end. It is because of that love, we have a new opportunity to have an intimate and thriving relationship with your Creator, direct access to Him at any time, in any place. This, as Kirk Franklin so aptly put it, is the reason why we sing. The Resurrection is the foundation for every hymn, every chorus. It is the hope that we cling to for life eternal in the heavens. It gives our life purpose and direction. It restores our sense of hope and a future. In reconnecting to the One who gave us purpose, we gain new life. I know what it means to me to be born again to new life and restored hope in Jesus. I invite you to try Jesus and see what a wonderful difference He can make in your life. I want you to know personally the incredible love of Jesus Christ in your life journey. He would love to reconnect with you today. Love and blessings on this Resurrection Sunday!!!

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