You see when major things happen it re-shifts your focus. Like when someone close to you dies, suddenly the world stops... normal every day activities, issues, concerns don't seem to mean so much. All that matters in these moments is telling the people that you love, that you love them, respecting one another, and helping one another. It's about unity, coming together, supporting each other, lifting each other up, comforting one another, encouraging one another. There's also time for reflection; What did this person mean to me? What are my favorite memories? How does this change my life forever?
It doesn't have to be death - it can be a breakup or a divorce, a loss of your job, your home, your children. There are major life changes that can bring you to your knees that cause you to reflect on all the above questions.
So this day begs the question, how close am I to Jesus? Am I close enough for all my other concerns to just not seem so important today? Am I close enough to feel the pain of his death on the anniversary of his death? Does it cause me to stop and appreciate my life for what it is, not for what it isn't? It should.
It frustrates me because even though I know that I should be reacting this way, I keep going back to my old thoughts. My pains, stresses and worries. I think that's part of what makes this so beautiful though.
Jesus knows us. He knows our ways. Jesus loved us before we loved him. He loves us more. Oh, my heart grieves for the way I haven't loved him back. Not to his capacity. It's a shame really. I know I can't love Him as much but have I tried anyways? I know all too well the pain of loving someone with every ounce of love you can and not having the feeling reciprocated. It's deep. But not as deep as the nails that cut through his flesh. It's long suffering. But not as long suffering as Jesus endured while hanging on the cross waiting to die. It's heavy. But not as heavy as the sins that were given to him to carry. It's intense. But not as intense as Jesus dying so we may have eternal life.
I can't even speak about the torture he faced leading up to the cross. Torture to me that sounds worse than the cross itself. Agonizing, brutal, horrific torture.
If Jesus lived to an old age and died of natural causes His story would still be great. That God would send His only Son to earth so He could know what it feels like to live in the flesh and deal with our same sufferings. Yet, this story becomes so much more. Because He was crucified so that we may have eternal life. Through His crucifixion an innocent man took on the sins of the world. Through His crucifixion Satan was crushed.
This man who died is not just a friend. This man who died is my God. He died. For me (and you!). This is not any other wake and funeral. This is not any other sad story. In fact, this is a happy story. It has taken me a long time (and still going) to fully understand why I should rejoice instead of cry. Because unlike any other death, this one actually brings life. Undeserving eternal life in a place of glory where there will never be anymore suffering.
I can't even fathom that day. What it will be like. No grief. No hurt. No pain. No suffering. Wow.
No more death. No more break ups and divorces. No more loss of jobs, homes and children. There will never be any fear of bad news. No more waiting for "the catch." There is no catch, it's just beautiful, eternal life.
And when I think of God, His Son not sparing;
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.
When Christ shall come, with shouts of acclamation,
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart.
Then I shall bow, in humble adoration,
And then proclaim: "My God, how great Thou art!"
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!
-How Great Thou Art
So today I'm going to focus on Him. How blessed I am even in my suffering. Because without this day I would have no reason to hope. Nothing to look forward to. No promise of a place beyond this. Without hope I have nothing. But because of Jesus, I have everything.