Luke 23:23-25 (MSG) But they kept at it, a shouting mob, demanding that he be crucified. And finally, they shouted him down. Pilate caved in and gave them what they wanted. He released the man thrown in prison for rioting and murder and gave them Jesus to do whatever they wanted.
Learning how to work through life’s suffering in order to come to a place of wholeness.
We are fast becoming a culture of quick fixes. Feeling a little bit down? Quick fix. Worried about that upcoming job evaluation? Quick fix. Got a few aches and pains? Quick fix.
None of us like to suffer, either physical or emotional pain. We don’t like to hurt. We would that life should be pain-free, and when it’s not we resort to medication or other quick fixes to relieve our situation.
Sometimes it’s necessary to work our way through the suffering itself in order to come to a place of wholeness.
Emotional health is not always about easing the symptoms but can also be about learning how to work through the problems that helped create those symptoms.
And that can mean for time passing through the valley of the shadow in our lives. We hear something of that same wisdom in the words of Jesus:
“Truly I tell you unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (John 12:24).
Making sense of the Resurrection season is significant to your spiritual development.
Perhaps this is part of what this season of Resurrection (Easter) is all about. Out of the pain and suffering on Good Friday afternoon comes new life on Resurrection morning.
From what seems for all the world like death, emptiness, and meaninglessness, something new can and does emerge.
And indeed, were it not for that pain and suffering of Friday afternoon (Luke 23:44), we would not have Resurrection Sunday morning.
We would simply go from Holy Thursday to Resurrection Sunday without passing through Good Friday.
We’ve all experienced those Good Friday times in our lives. Certainly, we’ve known the reality of depression when it feels like we have nothing to live for, no hope, or future.
Or maybe we’ve experienced that Good Friday while in the depths of our grief when it feels like we’ll never know joy or laughter again.
Or maybe our Good Friday comes in the form of crippling anxiety, a worry that simply won’t go away, a fear that we can’t quite put our finger on and from which we can find no relief.
However, for sure we’ve known it, Good Friday is a familiar place for many of us. And what do we do when we find ourselves there? Look for the quick fix? Or work our way through the pain, through that valley of the shadow of death, into a new life?
The empowerment word for us is that, while we may pass through those Good Friday times, we don’t have to remain there.
We can and do emerge into our own Resurrection mornings. No matter how great the pain or how deep the despair, one of the few constants in our lives is change and transformation. The challenge for us comes in learning the lessons of our experience.
It’s not always easy, but it is possible. Can anything good come from depression, or anxiety, or grief, or trauma?
It may not seem so when we’re caught in our Good Friday worlds. Sisters and brothers, I assure you by the power of the Holy Spirit, Resurrection Sunday morning as has been left on record (John 20:1), can and does happen for the child of God!
Because He lives, we can face tomorrow! Have a Great Resurrection Weekend with your family and friends!
Our Leadership team is especially thankful for those of you who provided financial donations and support in the month of April 2019 by partnering with us in efforts to advance the kingdom of God in this 21st century season: Special thanks to Ms. Annette Straker, Mr. David Straker, Mr. Kenneth Washington, Mrs. Barbara Mason, Ms. Cynthia Waiters-Artis, Mother Betty Denson, Ms. Darlene Simmons, Mrs. Denise Johnson, Mr. and Mrs. Carl and Marguerite Williams, Mr. William Jones, Ms. Evonne Bazemore, Mr. William Wilson, Ms. Itholear Abbott, and Ms. Gertrude Scott.
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Pastor James Baker, Jr.