More than Meets the Eye

One of the most beautiful displays of God’s extreme grace is the story of the thief on the cross next to Jesus that was promised Paradise.

One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” – Luke 23:39

Jesus was literally dying for this man’s sin when He promised him salvation. Looking into the eyes of one of the vast causes of His suffering, He chose to save him. The thief could not hide himself or his past…it was displayed for all to see. But so was Grace.

There is one difference between us and the thief. We are not nailed to a cross. We are not short on time. We have an opportunity to do all we can to pursue His perfect will. To settle for just believing and not being changed by the Holy Spirit that He died to give us would be a travesty. To wait until we are faced with death to call upon Him would be a gamble. But to know at the end of your days that you gave your all, your everything for the sake of His name, His cause…would bring a smile to His face. To hear the words “Well done, good & faithful servant” would bring us to our knees.

He came to give us life, abundant life, not to just survive. He sent the Holy Spirit to teach us, direct us, convict us…so that we would become like Him. When we stand before God, our goal should be to stand in confidence. Once you invite Him in, He gives you strength and starts a work in you…but we must surrender fully, wholeheartedly for Him to work. May we remain open and obedient to Him in our every move so that there will be no reason to shy away from His gaze.

“For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit.” – 1 Thessalonians 4:7

“And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.” 1 John 2:28

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” – Hebrews 12:1


The Missing Peace

One Sunday morning about 2 years ago, life as I knew it changed dramatically.

Jeff, my (then) fiance, was knocking at the door to wake me up. When I looked into his eyes, my heart sank. Whatever he was about to tell me wasn’t good. He had the sad duty of telling me my mom was in the hospital…and it didn’t look promising.

Sheer panic set in. A groan emitted from my mouth that I will never forget. It was the sound of a daughter knowing that she was about to lose her mother. My mind was overwhelmed, and I couldn’t even get dressed. Jeff stopped me and pulled me to him. He assured me I wasn’t alone. We were about to face our first tragedy together. He had to live his vows before he even spoke them.

I never had the chance to speak with my mother. We let her go the next afternoon after the doctors confirmed there wasn’t any possibility she would wake up. In the room as she took her last breath, it was surreal. The color leaving her cheeks, the warmth leaving her hands…but ironically, there was this peace. I knew that she was about to lay her eyes on Jesus. That every pain she had felt, every fear she had felt, and every tear she had cried was about to be gone, forever.

Waking up to the reality she was gone was numbing. I let myself cry hard & scream loud. The Lord gave me peace, but that didn’t replace the piece that was missing. I slowly started emerging back into the world, into my life. Fragile and confused, I faced everyday with a teary smile.

The first 6 months were the most difficult. Facing the holidays and birthdays were always hard. My wedding day wasn’t as hard as I expected it to be. I was at peace that day. The realization that mother wouldn’t be there to see me marry the love of my life hurt, but I knew that God would let her have a sneak peek. She probably sees my whole journey ahead of me!  (only He knows)…

One thought that made my heart cave in was that she wouldn’t see me become a mother. But the Lord gave me peace about that..she may not physically be next to me…but He will be.

One day we will be reunited, and look back on our lives in amazement of how God worked everything together…for the good of those that love Him.

Matthew 5:4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”

Revelation 21:4 “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”