Sunday, April 16, 2017

A Personal Easter

A pause in the series of excerpts from my journal. A reflection on what being alone has showed me about Easter.

So I look back now that Lent is over at  failure. No great surprise, since I expended only feeble effort. I did not fulfill the Lenten plans I made, plans formed for my own spiritual benefit as well as promises to pray for others. I was consistent neither in those things I planned to do, nor in those things I promised I would not do. I failed. Every one.

 But God, in His goodness, used even this. In my failure, I began--only began--to see that I can't do these things alone. I can't overcome sin without help from God, the only one who ever defeated it.

My desire and effort, though incomplete, can give me access to His sufficient strength but, like Paul or Peter or anyone else who has lead a godly life, I have to truly want to. That's the part that keeps escaping me. I have to be crucified, too, and it begins with wanting to.

I have to finally, finally give up. I have to admit to my weakness, guilt, and persistent error if I am to ever rise with Christ. 

I was baptized into death. Only Christ can raise me up. I have to yield completely to Him. I cannot raise myself. Ever. But Christ rises and can bring me with Him if I let Him.

So, I have to walk with Him into death--a death of everything I thought I wanted, a death of all my plans, a death of my own self-protection. I have to walk with Him into His plans, and a life with Him that He promises will be more than I could ever have dreamed.

Every time I step away from Him, even glance or have a momentary fleeting thought, I sin. I can't help it. This happens because I was made by Him to live with Him. If Easter means anything personal, if the struggles and confusion of this last year, the first of my widowhood, have done any good work, they serve to show me my weakness. They show me that I can't do anything eternal alone.

I have to leave behind all the pride and strength I've spent a lifetime building up. I have to leave it all and cry out for God's help because what I can do alone is of little consequence. I can make decisions. I can do work. I can organize, and gather, and build. But I can't settle my soul. I can't keep safe. I can't avoid sin. I need help, God's help, for these and like so many of us, I don't want to ask for it.

That is my crucifixion. To admit I need help and learn to ask for it.

Christ walked out of tomb on that dark night before the Easter dawn triumphant, and it's a fine thing to witness. But this year, that's not enough. I've been watching too long. This year, I want Him to take me with Him.

For your Maker is your husband; the Lord Almighty is His Name.--Isaiah 54:5


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