Thursday, April 21, 2011
The Sunday After Friday
Holy Week has always been my favorite time of the year as a Christian, and it seems the more I grow in my faith the more I learn that for me it is not Easter that is so special, but rather Good Friday. There is something so humbling about reflecting on the sacrifice that Jesus gave for us. And that's easy to say, but it is when we take the time to sit in the pain and suffering that he endured we receive a type of clarity in the midst of our confusion regarding his act.
Today was so different. I felt different. I prayed different. I thought different. The fear I shared about Matt was one so entangled in my heart and soul it was eating me alive, more than I could have ever known. To just utter the words; let them seep out onto the keyboard, it gave me freedom I cannot describe. The day brought beautiful things, provisions were shown, and at the end of the day a friend sent me a picture of a rainbow that God had placed not far from my very house. God sent me a promise.
The pain in the Bible is real, it's raw. . .it screams of honesty and truth and frailty. The story of God's promise with Noah is far too often portrayed as a children's story. Animals, a boat, and at the end? A rainbow! Sounds nice, doesn't it? But I imagine Noah would tell you otherwise. Noah had to endure years and years of mocking, abuse, and ridicule. He had to labor over a task far bigger than he was. He had to trust God with every fiber of his being. And then? God killed everyone on the Earth, killed them by drowning. After hearing the screams and terrors of those outside the arc Noah then had to spend the longest year, I'm sure any human has had to endure, on a giant boat with hungry animals, animals who waste was abundant, and noises never ending. He was locked inside this boat with a few chosen family members. They were probably scared out of their minds wondering if this plan would ever work. They were probably at each other's throats constantly. They were, without question, doubting God.
Doubting God. It seems so arrogant in the face of what Jesus did for us. So prideful when we imagine the betrayal of all those who loved him, and the complete abandonment by his followers. And yet, this week, we get to sit with Jesus in Gethsemane. Sit in solitude and pray to God, "Take this cup away from me." I get that Jesus. I feel so deeply that aching for God to make this whole thing go away. But if there is every a time to learn from my savior it was in this moment.
"Yet not as I will, but as you will."
Not what I feel I deserve, but what will glorify your name.
Not what I desire, but what you desire for me.
Not what I want, but what you have planned.
Not mine, but yours.
Not me, but you.
Even when it's hard, even when it hurts, even when the pain feels unbearable, and the confusion is too much to put into words.
I was doing watercolors with Evelyn tonight, and I felt moved to paint Calvary. I'm no artist, but watercolors are too fun for words. I think my hope was to start a conversation with Evie about what Easter is all about. And as I painted that picture I began to think of all he went through for me. I began to feel overwhelmed with love, and humbled by my doubts. Tears began streaming down. The stories of the Bible are full of pain, doubt, anger, questions, fears, and uncertainty. The Father doesn't just get that it is hard. . .he sends us a rainbow to wipe away our tears. To remind us that there is good. To say to each of us that at the end of these earthly burdens his promises still remain.
Romans 8:22,24-25 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. For it is in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
Posted by Stephanie Olson at 2:09 AM