This fall will mark 20 years since the day I asked God into my life and since then, Easter seasons have passed with different meanings to my heart.
When I was first getting to know God, I celebrated Easter with a thankfulness to Him for revealing to me that I didn't have to depend on human beings in my life to fill that hole in my heart.
There were other seasons that I mourned with gratefulness the sacrifice He made for me. What a gift to be so easily received... the gift of grace. I don't need to DO anything or NOT DO anything once I have accepted the gift; I don't need a pastor or a church leader to intervene for me.
I just need Jesus. He loves me as I am, and He paid the ransom.
And there have been other years when I've been blown away by the abounding LOVE He has for me.
A lot has happened since we last celebrated Easter to set the tone for this year's Easter season. Three events stand out.
First there was Jeremiah.
Then there was Olivia Kate.
Then there was Major.
These three have left me battered and bruised and I don't know whether I will ever completely heal. Here on earth, it is very sad. I see these three families with a missing piece to their puzzle. And I've asked, "why?" a lot.
Within the last couple of weeks, the word "eternal" has slowly been impressed upon my heart.
It is something I have known throughout these 20 years, but I have not had to live through events that really allowed this truth to sink in. Going to heaven when we die to spend eternity with our holy God... yes that is the promise that Christ's unjust punishment and resurrection brings me.
But it has suddenly dawned on me....
We are created for eternity.
We are not created for this world.
These babies who have left us too soon by our human standards have been translated from death to life because of Christ. Jesus has destroyed death and has brought us forgiveness of sins and life everlasting.
"Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death - that is, the devil."
If death is the last enemy, then the last enemy has been destroyed! I need to change in order to accommodate this line of thinking, and this change can only come through His grace in His great love for me. Thus, a very rich meaning is given to my life as I approach God continuously, and ever more intimately.
And I will remember - in the end what I should live for is not for just another day here, but for that very day there.
"But he was wounded and crushed for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace. He was whipped and we were healed! All of us have strayed away like sheep. We have left God's paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the guilt and sins of us all.
He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led as a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth. From prison and trial they led him away to his death. But who among the people realized that he was dying for their sins - that he was suffering their punishment?"