Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter

This is my 201st post!

The other day, a very close friend told me my Christian beliefs are "a bunch of crap." Now, since I always believed that she respected my beliefs, and since she is someone I love, it hurt me quite a bit. Jesus Christ and His teachings are such an integral part of me that it felt like she was calling me crap. I know that's not the case. I know she loves me. But it got me thinking.

I love my Savior. I have felt Him guide when I need Him most. I have felt Him guide me when I don't realize how much I need Him. He has come after me to rescue me more often than I should admit. No one else is more dedicated to my happiness! No one. And no one can be.

The Atonement of Christ was for me. I know that if I was the only human to face this test of life, I still would have needed a Savior, because I still would have fallen short of God's expectations. I still would have barred myself from His kingdom. And He still would have atoned for me. Just me. He would have taken upon Him my sins, and my sorrows, and my infirmities. Isaiah 53:3 says "Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows;" Not only did he take on Him the punishment for my transgressions, he also bore my griefs and carried my sorrows. I know this is true. I have seen it. He has taken the pain when I could bear it no more.

I digress momentarily to summarize a little story I wrote. There was a woman who lived in a cottage on a hill, where she ran a bed-and-breakfast. She had no one to take care of her, but she took care of herself quite nicely. She had employees, servants. Well, she was preparing for a big weekend, the biggest of the year, where she would be hosting several guests. Everything had to be perfect- the food, the rooms, the experience. This weekend would support her for the next several months.
One day, she returned from an outing to find that her kitchen had burned down. Everything in it was useless. Every appliance was destroyed, every dish demolished, and all the food wasted. She discovered it was one of her servants who had intentionally set the fire. Of course, she fired him. But that didn't solve any problems.
She was crippled with betrayal, anger, and now her very livelihood had been compromised, all because of someone else's cruelty. She was in her garden, overcome with emotion, when her most trusted servant approached her. "Madam," he said, "Why do you cry? I have restored your kitchen! Everything has been replaced." The woman was confused. That was impossible. The damage wasn't even a day old. She knew her servant must have had good intentions, but she also knew her kitchen was beyond repair. So she went to town and spent her every last dime on appliances and food. She carried it up the hill on her back, everything. The fridge, the stove, the food, the dishes. Finally, she collapsed beneath her burden; she literally could not carry it. While buried, her best servant found her and pulled her out. He said, "I told you I restored your kitchen. I carried everything up this hill already, and replaced all that was destroyed. I told you I did this. Why did you not believe?" and he took her to her kitchen, and she saw that, indeed, all was restored.

Why don't we believe Him, sometimes, when He tells us He's already carried our griefs and borne our sorrows? Why do we sometimes insist on carrying it ourselves? We don't have to. He did it already. He carried it already. How He loves us! We don't need to feel the full pain of betrayal- He bore it already for us! We don't need to suffer in sorrow for loss- He bore it already! Let us give it to Him, He who has taken it already- why should we pay for something that was already purchased for us?

Back to Isaiah 53. Jesus took the hit for us. He was wounded for our transgressions. Bruised for our iniquities. All fall short of qualifying for the Kingdom of God. And so we need a Redeemer. And Jesus was willing. I remember I used to think that He must not have suffered as much for me as He did for others, because He must not love me like He loves others. I couldn't fathom being special enough to anyone to redeem. How could He love me that much? Then I realized how selfish I was being. Did I really think I was the only one in all the world He didn't give everything for? That's ridiculous. Of course He died for me. Individually. He carried my griefs and bore my sorrows. I remember when I realized my marriage was over. The pain was inexpressible. It was thick. I couldn't breathe. The betrayal I felt stung more than words can describe. I couldn't bear it. I fell to my knees and asked my God to take the pain. I told him I didn't want to feel it.

And you know what? He took it. And He could, because Jesus Christ already bore it. I was blessed with peace, immediately, and throughout the divorce process. Oh, you bet I had hard days. You bet I had regrets. But I was able to smile and laugh every single day, because Jesus took my pain.

My Savior Jesus Christ is my light, and the light of the world. He is my Redeemer. He is my comfort. He is my peace. The chastisement of my peace is upon Him. Peace isn't free, someone must pay. Jesus Christ paid. And what good news! I can be free! Because of Jesus Christ, I can be free of pain, of sorrow, of sin, of death. Because of Him, and like Him, I will rise after I die, and live forever in His glory. He is my joy.

And so, when you say my belief in Him is crap, I know I must not take offense. He taught us to not be offended. It's just that without Him, I am nothing, and so when you say it's junk, then you're attacking me, too. And when you say my beliefs are garbage, it feels like you're throwing my Savior away. Since He has given me everything, and also He has given you everything, hearing that is hard. But regardless of your beliefs, He is there. And He loves you. So do I.

Say what you will about Jesus Christ, but don't expect me to stand silent and let you speak ill of Him. He saved me. The least I can do is defend His name.

And in His sacred, powerful name, I close.
image from

Matthew 11:28-30

28. Come unto me, all ye that labour and are
heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me;
for I am meek and lowly in heart:
and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
30.For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

No comments: