Faith

Yet…

The Easter Story.

I have heard it many times.  I have heard it in church, in Sunday School, on movies, in the Bible. So many times have I heard that Jesus died and rose again for my sins so I can have everlasting life.  I knew what that meant.  I knew that I, because I have accepted the Lord Jesus as my Savior, that I am forgiven; because this man, this hero named Jesus of Nazareth, was Lord in the flesh, and for some reason, my poor pitiful self, was worth dying for.

Since a teenager, I have considered myself a Jesus girl.  A girl who loved and followed him, was in the Youth group, praise band, and in church on Wednesday nights.  I wavered.  Oh, did I waver, but He always found me and loved me back to the path that He created for me.  I promise you, without a doubt, I will still waver.  And He will still find me.  I love my God.  I love that He gives me a hope and a future that I couldn’t ever have or create on my own.

It wasn’t until later in life, however, that I began to really study and pay attention to the moments leading UP to the death and resurrection of Jesus.  As a matter of fact, it wasn’t until I watched Lee Strobel’s, The Case For Christ, listened deeply to our pastor Toby Slough and the word God gave him during the Easter season, did I start to understand the incredible and insurmountable situations that Jesus withstood for all humanity.  My faith, over time, has readily strengthened; I watched The Passion of the Christ, and other documentaries of Jesus in His last days, pulled my Bible out afterward and began to read over and over the moments that led up to, during, and followed Jesus’ death.

It occurred to me shortly thereafter, that I actually have a favorite part of the Easter story.

I studied.  I listened.  And I found this.  Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, the night before He is crucified:

“Father, if you are willing, please take take this cup of suffering away from me.  Yet, I want your will to be done, not mine.  Then an angel appeared and strengthened him.”  Luke 22:42-43

We can all agree so many poignant moments come from the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Every verse stirs so much emotion in my soul.  But these two verses from Luke sends chills down my spine without fail every time I read it. Every. Single. Time.

Jesus, so filled with anguish, asks the Lord…is there any other way?  Any? And then the word, YET.  One powerful three letter word that is a stop sign to the questions.  YET.  Yet, I will still follow and submit to your plan, God.

He knows it is coming.  He nows how painful it will be.  He knows He is going to suffer, and suffer greatly.  He is perfect.  He is without sin.  Yet He knows He is going to endure hours of interrogation, mocking, brutal whipping, and die a horrible and awful death that every single sinner on the face of the Earth deserves.  Jesus is filled with such stress that He sweats drops of blood from his brow.   This is not a man who says, ‘well, here it goes…time to die for all humanity. Part of the gig”.  No, this is a perfect man who is 33 years old and knows that great punishment and incredible and massive physical pain is coming to Him without even a chance to get proven before He dies.

Being someone who has a tendency (understatement) to get anxious before big events, this is major to me and makes such a huge impact on my life.  The idea that pain is impending, it is coming, it is not going away, and still submitting to God’s will no matter the cost; I truly cannot find the words for that.  I really cannot and if you know me, I am rarely speechless.  It is emotionally overwhelming for me. This, my friends, is THE ultimate and extreme example of being in the will of God; and all of this for me, us, humanity.  Sinners.

And the next part? Luke 22:43:

“Then an angel appeared and strengthened him.”  
Jesus follows the plan, He follows the script, and an angel appears and strengthens Him.  

Isn’t that right? Isn’t that the TRUTH?  God sets out a path for us.  He has great plans that He has created for you and I since we were first born out of our mother’s womb.  He calls us to great things that we couldn’t ever imagine in our own simple minds.  We are called to do work for the Kingdom.  Following that plan and that path can get hard.  It can get dicey.  And at times, it can go against the grain of what the world says is the right and safe thing to do.  It can feel out of the ordinary, rare, solitary, and put you in a position where family and friends ask, “What in the world are you doing?”.  But don’t you know, that when we follow God, He will come down and strengthen you for the path that He has created?

You bet your bottom dollar He will!! Yes He will!  Don’t you dare doubt it for a second.  When you follow His will, His plan for you life, oh yes, my fearless friend, He WILL strengthen you for that.  He will make a way for you as you step out into Him and into what may feel like darkness, the unknown, and the road that looks barren and scary.  He will bless your socks off.  Oh yes, darling, He will.

Jesus is Lord, but He was also human.  The only perfect human that has or will ever walk the face of this planet.  I tell you this because He knows.  He walked straight into death.  He suffered.  But YET, the Lord’s promises prevailed.  He rose from the dead, perfect and beautiful, and saved us all who believe from the gates of Hell.  Can I get a hallelujah?  HALLELUJAH for the Cross.

This Easter will come and go like it usually does, but let this one be different. I encourage you to search for His will for you; follow it at whatever stage of life you are in.  What is He calling you to step out and do?  It might not be something that you have envisioned at this time in your life, but YET, let Him guide you.  For in Him, there are no losses.  The are no failures.  With Him, there are no ‘OOPS’.  We know the ending of the story, friends.  With Jesus, there is only victory.  He died, He rose, and has given us the gift of eternal LIFE.

YET Lord, let your will be done.  Not mine.

Love,
Ashley

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