Thursday, April 21, 2011

Because He Lives

The following is an article I wrote for an e-magazine put out by my church.  To read the rest of the articles in the edition, click here.  Even though I wrote it several weeks ago, I've been thinking about the same things this week as Easter approaches, and thought I'd share it with all of you:

“God sent His son, they called Him Jesus

He came to love, heal, and forgive.
He lived and died to buy my pardon,
An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives.

“Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
Because He lives, All fear is gone.
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living just because He lives.

The Gaithers, one of the most popular, and longest-lasting Southern Gospel groups of all time, sang the above words in their song “Because He Lives.”  The words were written as they were facing fears and trials in their personal lives, and this song was their worshipful expression of the decision they made to turn their focus back on the gospel of Jesus Christ, despite the distractions of their trials in life.

So often I am tempted to get distracted by life - sometimes by trials, sometimes by blessings.  But when I choose to focus on the truth - the absolute, unwavering, life-altering truth of the gospel, my life is worth living.

Jesus died, but he didn’t stay dead.  He rose from the grave!  He lives today!  And his grace is mine for the taking.  Not only is it mine for the taking at the moment I accepted salvation through grace, acknowledging my sins, and accepting his pardon, but his grace is mine for the taking every day of my life.

The decision to accept salvation through grace is a one-time event, but it must be lived out through every day of my life. Jesus was not only alive on the day I accepted salvation, but He is alive today, tomorrow, and forever.  The fact that He lives should change every moment, every part of my life.

Right now, my current distraction is waiting for children.  As my husband Dave and I work towards adoption in hopes of growing our family, it is mind-boggling how many things I find to worry about, to get frustrated by, and to stew over.  Has someone hugged my future kids today?  Are they doing ok in school?  Who tucks them in at night?  When will they come home?

It’s so painful to me that I can’t care for my children - knowing they are likely out there somewhere, but with them not knowing that there is a mother just waiting to hold them, hug them, and love them forever.  It’s painful to not have any control, to not be able to do a single thing to make things happen in my timing.

We bought a book of Bible stories the other day to read to our future kids.  It’s a great book - it’s a collection of 270 excerpts from the Bible, illustrated for children and chronologically arranged.  I immediately started marking the stories I wanted to share with our future children first.  But as I was flipping through the pages, God reminded me of something: God drew me to himself in His timing.  He watched over me, and cared for me.  He lived and died for me, and rose again because of His overwhelming love for me.  

He loves my future children just as much.  

And no matter what, whether the answer is what I would choose or not, He has everything under control.  He will work everything for our good, and for His glory.

“Because He lives, all fear is gone.
Because I know He holds the future.”

Life is worth living because the gospel of Jesus Christ is alive.  It’s not an old story - it’s a current fact.  And I don’t want to allow anything to distract me from that precious truth.  Instead, I want to bring my fears, and troubles to the cross - to the throne of the Living God. Rather than allowing trials to distract me, I want to let God use them to draw me closer to Himself.

This year, I am looking forward to Easter even more than usual.  I’m going to celebrate the fact that we serve a God who sent His only Son to die on a cross for me.  I want to offer God a worshipful expression of a choice that I’ve made - to live in light of the fact that we serve a Risen King.

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