Living the Gospel – April 14, 2019

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While many of my friends have known I wasn’t feeling well these past few weeks, most have been unaware of how sick I’ve been. It’s been a time of pain and trial; doctors have sucked out my blood in one arm and injected solutions of nutrients and pain killers in the other. I’ve undergone countless tests, but no answers were found. Growing weaker, I turned to the unfailing resource of strength – Jesus Christ.

My Lenten journey has taken me well beyond the usual forty days of meatless Fridays and giving up my favorite desserts. Instead, I found myself struggling to eat and drink. Pain became my constant companion. Like the unproductive fig tree, I feared I was about to be cut down. Nay, I became convinced that my time was up. In the darkness of my suffering, I had plenty of time to reflect on if I had become the person God planned for me to be.

I have been the prodigal son; I have squandered my Christian inheritance and need to return to my father. Instead of being a living example of how God’s love supports me, I have let my misery rule my daily interactions. I have complained to friends and family, snapped at the nurses, and demanded the doctors fix my health issues. I have not done an adequate job of demonstrating the Christian love that God asks me to share. Even so, I am overwhelmed by the love the Lord has lavishly bestowed on me when I turned back to the Father.

Today I am the thief on the cross. I have stolen from my Lord, claiming the life he gave me as my own to live as I choose without regard to his plan for me. And now I am here, suspended between life and death, waiting for the end. But Christ hangs there with me. Always beside me, he offers new hope, new life. He promises resurrection. It’s a gift for this very day, not for some distant future. It’s the knowledge that when this life with its pain and suffering comes to an end, whether it be tomorrow, next year, or some future date of God’s choosing, I will awaken with the Lord. I will be whole and well again.

Our resurrection is for now. That’s what it means when we say we Christians are an Easter people.

Linda Crowley