Sitting in the early morning half-light of the first day of Spring, I can’t help but wonder at the remnants of snow that fell throughout the day yesterday still smattering my yard. Winter’s last hurrah came as a soggy, somber disappointment while the gray day dulled the bright green of newly emerging grass in our lawn. As one who looks forward to each new season in its turn, it is still difficult to go back to the cold, damp weather after experiencing the warm breezes of some 70 degree days and the touch of sunshine on your skin.
Though I wish it weren’t the case, my fickle soul gets caught up in the darkness of a day. I tend to forget that with the sun, and blooming flowers, and budding trees, and blossoming bushes – a little rain must come. What a beautiful picture God paints in nature to mirror the theme of the Easter story. Dark days will come, and those who had followed Christ on the road to the cross must have felt such despair as the shadow of death eclipsed the hill where He hung.
When my oldest daughter was about four years old, it was around this time of year where sermons, Sunday School, and middle-of-the-week activities for children at our church were all teaching the Easter story over and over, and it weighed heavily on her tiny heart. One day (in the days before air bags) she was sitting in the front seat next to me and burst into tears. “I don’t want Jesus to die on the cross!” It was a heavy burden she bore as she tried to comprehend the cost of sin. It was a delicate task to help her understand that this was only part of the story. I tried to help her comprehend that the sadness was only the middle. I tried to help her remember the best part was that, though Jesus died, God raised Him from the grave so we could be free.
All too often, we get stuck in the darkness that passed over Golgotha. Most of us can identify with that feeling of being forsaken, forgotten, abandoned, and left alone in our circumstances that Jesus expressed on the cross. If we give up in the middle, if we focus on the darkness and surrender to our circumstances, we often miss out on the best part of the story God is writing in our lives. As every writer knows, the middle is only an inciting incident to propel us towards a great ending. The story of the cross is a framework found in all great stories written by the same amazing Author.
Photo Credit: Graphic design by Charity Klicka.