As we begin March and look into April, there are several things that come to mind.
First, we have begun the season of Lent. This can seem like a hard time to many people. Their sins become more evident as we draw nearer to the cross. What Lent is, for us, is a time of preparation. Yes, it is a penitent time of preparation, but we are preparing, nonetheless.
One of the things we often do in counseling is to reflect. Is there a positive take we can get from a negative situation? How can God use this for the good? I like to remember that God can take a situation that we view as very negative and make it into a positive.
One of the greatest examples of this would be the cross on which Jesus gave His life—for our sins. If Jesus does not die on the cross, then we do not have forgiveness. If Jesus does not come for us, then we should still be offering sacrifices! But that has ended. Why? Because Jesus DID come for us.
I like to ask people: “Can God die?” The obvious answer might seem to be: “No.” But the follow-up question makes us begin to think. “Did God die on the cross?” And the answer to that is “yes.” If God does not die (in the person of Jesus) on the cross, then we do not have forgiveness. Since God and man cannot be separated, because they are one in Jesus, God dies on the cross that our sin might be forgiven and removed from us forever! Thanks be to God.
That is what we are preparing for. We are not only getting ready to meet Jesus on the cross, we are especially getting ready to meet Him at the empty tomb with the proclamation that “He is not here. He is risen, just as He said!” And, more than that, we are getting ready to be met by Him as we are taken to the eternal glories of heaven. The wait will not be long, the preparation not difficult, for He has set the Table and prepared the eternal banquet for us.
Second, the light continues to remain with us longer each day! It is a reminder that, once again, God’s order of nature and creation continues. Soon the fullness of spring will be upon us. Soon crops will be planted and growth spring forth. Soon the warmth of spring and summer days shall be upon us and we will be enjoying the sounds of the birds and the smells of blossoms.
Along with the light, we find many who have struggled with the darkness, begin to see a change in their life. In the same way, we need to remember, that those who walk in the darkness of sin, see a great change take place when the Light of Christ shines on them and they walk in His Light. They allow His Word, a lamp to their feet and a light for their path, to be their guide. They join in reading that Word, in praying, connecting to God, and connecting with fellow-Christians to support them in their walk with God. They begin to open and to blossom as the Light shines upon them and warms them, so they might reflect that same warmth and love and forgiveness to others.
Third, I must smile at the wisdom (and humor) of God. Ash Wednesday was on Valentine’s Day. What greater show of love do we have than our God Who has called us to Himself? And Easter, this year, is on April first, April Fool’s Day. We are reminded in God’s Word: The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” Those words are recorded two times in the Bible, first in Psalm 14:1 and the second time in Psalm 53:1. The opening words of these two Psalms are identical, only to see some variation as the Psalmist continues.
How much more the foolishness of not recognizing the cross and the empty tomb, assuring us of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus. How foolish to recognize the theories of the world rather than the truth of God’s Word! And yet the foolishness of man stands out, seen by many as fact. St. Paul writes: “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:55-58). No matter what we face we can walk in the Light of Christ and live within His wisdom and truth. Thanks be to God, for He is good!
Pastor Schaeffer Proverbs 16:3