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Good Friday?

Jesusoncross
Why do we reflect on Christ’s crucifixion? How can we relate to such torture? How can we understand such love?

God transformed a traumatic memory to give me insight. Read how:

The psychiatrist advised, “You have to get Chris into the hospital as soon as possible. He’s becoming very dangerous.”

How am I supposed to get him to the hospital without him first harming me? I hid all sharp objects, but Chris has his black belt in karate.

A few nights later, our family returned home from the movies. Robert and Howie went upstairs. Chris approached me in the kitchen with an audiocassette tape in his hand. Breaking it in front of me he said, “This is what I will do to you.”

Suddenly, he struck my jaw with a karate chop.

Chris turned and walked towards the steps, punching a hole in the wall. I followed him.

Chris walked into our bedroom and began to speak calmly to Howie, as if nothing happened. Unprovoked, he suddenly attacked Howie with a running side kick (a powerful karate foot kick). When he turned toward me, Howie grabbed him.

Quickly, I helped Howie hold Chris down on the floor. Chris’s nose started bleeding. Blood poured from his nose onto our carpet.

With Howie was on one side of Chris and me on the other, I couldn’t see what was happening to Howie. But, I could hear Howie making grunting sounds as if he was getting hurt. Chris thrashed his feet about in an attempt to break loose. kicking me over and over. He cursed at us and growled like a caged animal.

I screamed, “Robert, call 911! Tell them to send an ambulance.”

An army of police officers arrived at our house. I never thought I’d be relieved to have my son handcuffed. But, I was. I knew we would all be safe and Chris would have the best chance of getting better. The police took Chris away in an ambulance. Although Howie and I were exhausted, we jumped in the car and headed to the hospital.

We arrived at the hospital just as the police were escorting Chris into the emergency entrance. We caught up to him. The dark, empty look in his eyes was replaced by a pathetic look. I saw the helpless, pleading look of a son who needed his mother.

“I’m sorry, Mom.”

“It’s OK, Chris. We know you didn’t mean it. You’re just sick. That’s all.”

In the waiting room, Howie and I noticed our injuries. The inside of Howie’s lip was raw and bloody from being hit repeatedly by Chris’s head. There was a large cut on his face just under his eye. I had no cuts. Only bruises. All over my arms and legs.

During the six hours we waited, doctors and nurses tried to get Chris to admit himself. But he refused. He would have to be admitted against his will.

After a while, Chris fell asleep. He was taken to a room in the adolescent psychiatric ward of the hospital.

As we left the hospital, we were given a packet of information. It contained all the rules and regulations of the psychiatric ward. A lot to read after experiencing such an ordeal.

We returned home at 6:00 AM.

Later that day, Howie and I compared notes.
“What were you thinking when we held Chris down, Howie?”
“I felt tremendous sorrow for him. I didn’t want him to get hurt.”
“That’s exactly how I felt.”

Howie and I were careful not to hurt Chris as we held him down. Neither of us minded the blows we received. Even though Chris cursed us, we loved him unconditionally.

That’s how it was with Jesus. His accusers cursed, beat, and whipped Him. Yet, He took the pain upon Himself…For our transgressions. The Lord replaced that dreadful experience with a beautiful reminder of Christ’s love.

As a little girl, I wondered, “What’s so good about Good Friday?” Our experience with our son years ago gave me insight into Christ’s crucifixion. Jesus willingly died because of His unconditional love for us. He preferred to take our punishment so we could have eternal life in heaven.

Do you have a painful memory that haunts you? Christ, who overcame death, can surely transform those troubling thoughts.

Kristyn Getty’s “The Power of the Cross” reminds us of His unconditional love.

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Fear Mixed with Joy

 

Other than on a rollercoaster ride, where else do fear and joy exist together?

Could anyone who is deathly afraid of flying be joyful and fearful in the air? What would motivate that person to strap themselves into a plane and face a barf bag? Knowing they’ll most likely use it. They might risk anything to be reunited with a loved one.

I share such yearnings.

Years ago, my husband and I traveled to Romania. I love flying and couldn’t wait to take off.

At the conference for Christian educators, we became close friends with the Romanian teachers.

I’ve kept in touch for several years with one lady. We email prayer requests and share family news. I enjoy hearing from her, but long to see her again. To be in her presence once more.

Nothing communicates better than a warm embrace. There are no language barriers when close friends look deep into each other’s eyes. Silence speaks volumes.

I’ve missed you. I’ve prayed for you. You mean so much to me. I’m honored to know you. Let me just rest in your presence.

Skype contact can’t fill the room with her sweet aroma. A picture of her can’t replace her gentle touch.

If I could afford it, I’d travel to Romania to be reunited with her again.

If I had the money to take the trip and feared flying, I’d still go. Joy would override apprehension.

In the Bible, we read about several women who went to Christ’s tomb. Grief and sadness were replaced with other emotions. Soon they were filled with fear and joy. (Matthew 28:8)

What consumed them with fear? Was it seeing the huge stone rolled away? Or seeing an angel? Or finding their Lord’s body gone?

What swelled their hearts with such elation? It was the joyous message the angel told them.

“He is not here; he has risen, just as he said…”  (Matthew 28:6)

Hearing their Lord had risen filled them with delight.

Fear is a familiar feeling to us. We know what it’s like to see unexpected, upsetting, and unpredictable behaviors. It’s normal to be afraid.

Can we, like the women at Christ’s tomb experience joy amid fear? Yes! For the same reason the women were able to rejoice in spite of what they just saw and experienced. Christ is alive.

Just like those women, we seek Him. The One who will hear, help and heal. We want to know He’s there.

In Matthew 28:20 we read Christ’s own words of assurance: “… And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

That’s a promise we can cling to when all else falls apart.

He’s with us when things are unpredictable. When dreams are shattered. When sorrow overwhelms us.

All we need to do is believe. Don’t feel badly if that’s easier said than done. Even Jesus’ apostles needed this admonition to believe Christ rose from the dead:  “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken!”  (Luke 24:25)

Oh, what joy they experienced once they realized Christ had risen and spoke to them!

“Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:32)

May you be quick to believe so your heart will burn within as Christ speaks to you. Listen to Him. Hear the words you long to hear. Rest in His presence. Fear may creep in, but joy will fill your soul.

What do you long to hear from your Lord?