Thursday, April 9, 2009

Where Have You Put Jesus?

If we can be certain of anything, it’s that life is full of uncertainties. We can often conclude that God just isn’t meeting our expectations—He’s not showing up when He should and He’s not doing what we thought He would. What we fail to remember is that God promises to do infinitely more than we can ever dare to hope for or imagine. He has a greater vision and a much better plan. (Ephesians 3:20; Isaiah 55:9) Things were no different during the time of Jesus’ death. His Disciples and those who loved Him had expectations for Him in their lives. But, all that ended with His crucifixion…..or so they thought.

As Mary went to the tomb that Easter morning, filled with grief over the death of her Lord and Savior, her grief was overwhelmed with an even greater burden when she found Him to be missing. (The Romans and Jewish leaders had Jesus in a grave where they could watch over Him and Jesus’ followers wanted Him to be in a place they could find him.) But, when Mary arrived, Jesus was gone. Those that Jesus loved were so consumed with grief that they were focused on their pain and emptiness, instead of His Promises. In Matthew 20:18-19 (NIV) Jesus said,

“and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the teachers of the law.
They will condemn him to death and will turn him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!"

God is faithful to His Promises—don’t forget that—there is no exception. So, on that day, in John 20: 11-14…..we find Mary in a state of distress beyond comprehension: “but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus' body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her, ‘Woman, why are you crying?’ ‘They have taken my Lord away,’ she said, ‘and I don't know where they have put him.’ At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.”

When we are overwhelmed with despair, we fail to see when Jesus is with us; we fail to cling to His Promises. Jesus couldn’t be held in a grave, so don’t try and contain Him in the narrow-mindedness of your heart. Jesus is calling us to quit holding on to our far from perfect expectations of life and join Him in the place where pain finds healing, injustice finds forgiveness, hatred is defeated with love, emptiness is filled until it overflows, strife is destroyed with His peace, and sadness is overruled with the joy He gives. Just as the grave could not hold Him, He’s showing you that with Him…you are free.

You, personally, may come face to face with the empty tomb. As you cry out to God for help, there seems to be no answer and your pain is deepened by God’s silence. But, clearly understand, the silence is not evidence of God’s absence, but of His presence. Jesus’ body was nowhere to be found, but by His absence, He is forever in our presence. The question is, “Do we even recognize Him when He is with us?” Mary didn’t even recognize Jesus when He was right before her—do you?

Maybe you’ve put Jesus in your life on Sunday—you’re sure you can always find Him there. Maybe you’ve put Jesus at your bedside—The Living Word looks nice on your side table. Maybe you keep Jesus in your personal life, but you’ve decided He has no place in your professional career. Wherever you’ve put Him, you’re certain that you’ve put Him in a safe place. But, what happens when you go looking for Him and He’s not there? When you’re crying out for help, consumed with despair, will you find Him where you’ve put Him? Chances are you won’t. He has risen, He lives, and He wants you seeking after Him.

The tomb couldn’t hold Him and neither can your expectations. He wants to do more in your life….He wants to have you stand in awe of Him. His silence is not evidence of His absence, but of His presence. He’s asking you to step out in faith and believe, that with Him, all things are possible. He wants you remembering what He’s promised. He wants you clinging to the Cross. And when you least expect Him, when you’re convinced He’s abandoned you, you’ll find your Savior before you—He’s full of surprises!


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I am so blessed that you would take the time to share your thoughts with me! You encourage my faith and I pray that God will fill you to the full with His love, mercy,and grace! With joy, Cherie

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