Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)
I’ve uttered His name on my lips more times than I can count over the past few years as I’ve walked through dark valleys and stood high on mountaintops. I feel a great warmth cover my body and tears flood my eyes at the power of His Great Name. Even a whisper, “Jesus”, and everything changes.
My prayer list is growing. I keep adding to the list family members, friends, acquaintances, people and situations that don’t even know I exist. I don’t mention this to boast of my prayer life, but because the apparent brokenness in this world is becoming more and more evident as I talk with people new and old and begin to ask questions. Or when I see the divisiveness, tragedy, loss, and suffering that permeates the news outlets. Or when I see behind the smiling faces on social media the perfectionism, insecurity, call for attention, materialism and anxiety that consumes so many. Or the struggling relationships and broken marriages. Or the need to cover deep wounds with a Band-Aid of alcohol, drugs, and sex.
Before I truly came to know Jesus, I remember a constant yearning for something more. I was a perfectionist rattled with worry. A wallflower hoping no one would notice me. Insecure and scared to show my true self. Afraid of judgement. And health problems began to mount up as the conflict inside me grew and grew. And that constant yearning for more in this life -- I’ve found that it is a common thread that we all share, whether we realize it or not. That yearning exists because we are separate from our Father, our Creator, our Forever Home. But today there is Good News. Because of the suffering, death, and resurrection of Christ Jesus, we have a free gift and invitation to close that gap and yearn no more. The Author of all creation lives amongst us, in Spirit form, and wants to fill us with His love, hope, joy, and peace. He wants to erase your blemished past by extending His mercy and grace to forgive you. He wants to give you new life – an eternal life. He wants you. You.
Jesus doesn’t mean an easy life; we were never promised a life of ease. We are told that we will encounter challenges in many forms. But now we don’t have to go through them alone. God is the Author of every circumstance, and He is growing and maturing us, preparing us for the next great chapter in His Book.
As a coming clean, I have written before of some of the challenges I’ve faced in years prior – health challenges, financial fears after I was laid off, infertility concerns. But what I haven’t mentioned over the past year (if you’ve noticed I’ve been pretty quiet) is my pending divorce, adjusting to life on my own, working long and often draining hours, and having to heal some of the brokenness in my soul as a result. Heartbreak was there. Stress was there. Fear was there. Fatigue was there. But yet, somehow, through it all, I have not crumbled. I’ve stood strong and firm. I have put my trust in Jesus, held His Hand, and allowed Him to continue transforming me from the inside-out. I am forgiven. I am healed. I am confident. I am bold. I am courageous. I am tough as nails. I am resilient. I am true to my God. I am loved. I am worthy. I am valuable. I am beautiful. I am smart. I am sexy. I am better, wiser, and more mature than ever before because I have walked through valleys to now stand high on the peaks of mountaintops.
I never realized how capable I was. But it hasn't been out of my own accord; it’s through the strength and supernatural power that only God can provide. My feet are firmly planted in His Word. I am equipped with the armor of God so that no fiery dart can pierce me. I have His love as glue to piece me back together when I feel myself breaking apart. I have His grace when I make a mistake or fall victim to sin. And I have Jesus; my Rescuer, my Redeemer, my Healer, my Lover, my Restorer, my Wisdom, my Father.
And so, Jesus is on my lips...
To break every chain. To change everything. To silence the waves. Jesus. Jesus.
And I am holding steady. And I am ready. Because He's about to what I am not expecting...
...And I look forward with anticipation; with joy and with peace. For He is ALWAYS good. And His plans, ALWAYS perfect.
If you feel lost, I want you to know that He knows exactly where to find you. You can’t run from Him, and you cannot hide. He is constantly seeking you.
So he told them this parable: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost’. Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” (Luke 15:3-7)
Wherever you are today, no matter your past, He knows you, He loves you, and He wants to rejoice over you. He's ready to carry you on His shoulders to bring you Home. So I pose you this same question from John 11:25-26...Do you believe this? Then let today be the day. Open your heart. Let the power of Jesus fill you. Put His name on your lips. Come home and be set free.
May His love shine upon you this Easter Sunday.