on the beauty that pain can bring

Yesterday I had the pleasure of watching The Passion of the Christ (its on Netflix. if you havent seen it you should watch it) I went and saw it in the movie theater when it came out in 2004..but I didnt have the greatest experience. I will not say any names..but..the person i went to go see it with decided to take a bottle of whiskey into the movie theater..so I barely was able to watch the movie because I was in fear the whole time that someone would smell the terrible scent of it and the person i was with would be hauled to jail (they were underage) It surprises me that I wasnt drinking right along with them..the person I was in 2004 was..well..i guess ill just say an idiot. Even then, during a time in my life that I had no relationship, what so ever, with the Lord, I knew better. I remember sitting there with tears running down my face and the person I was with telling me how ridiculous I was being..we ended up leaving before the movie was over…so yesterday, I saw the end of the movie for the first time.

The movie is wonderful..it is powerful. I skipped some of the more gruesome scenes, like when Jesus was whipped, but for the most part Trinitee watched the whole thing. Some may think how terrible I am for letting a five year old watch a R rated movie..well think all you want. I want her to know at what price her salvation was bought. The things Jesus endured for us on Calvary were far worse than an R rating. I normally have a hard time getting her to watch anything that’s not a cartoon or has talking animals running around..but yesterday she hardly moved.  Since it’s in Aramaic, I read her the subtitles to some parts..but even without knowing the dialog she knew what was going on. I used to have a cd with the song Watch the Lamb on it, but it has been over a year since we’ve listened to it..shes smart though..when she saw the part when Jesus could no longer carry the cross and Simon of Cyrene was made to help, she said, “There’s Daddy Daddy and there’s his little boy!”

I was somewhat disappointed yesterday when the screen went black after Jesus died…why would they show how Christ was seemingly defeated without showing the final result of his victory, I thought. The screen was black for a moment and then a flash of bright light penetrated the darkness as the stone was being rolled away from the entrance of the tomb. The last scene of the movie shows Jesus stand up..he is now clean..his body is no longer covered with dried sweat and blood..his skin bears no bruises or lacerations from the whip..then the camera scrolls down to show the hole in his hand from the nail, and then the screen goes black and the credits start.  The last vision of Jesus’ nail scarred hand really affected me.

So many times I question the Lord and get upset with him for letting “bad” things happen to me. Just because I am a christian doesn’t mean that I wont be subjected to pain..sometimes I forget that. Pain is still able to affect the lives of even the most dedicated christian. The resurrection of Jesus is the utmost example of the rewards God gives to those who obey his will..but even here, we see evidence of pain – we see the scars in Jesus’ hand. Why did Jesus keep the scars in his hands, feet and side? During the time after he died he went and conquered death, hell and the grave..dont you think he would have been able to remove his scars?

  Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe. John 20:7

Jesus’ scars were the only thing that would prove to Thomas that Jesus had risen..the only thing that made Thomas believe. What if the pain and the scars we carry are tools the Lord wants us to use to witness and to reach people living in doubt. What if the Lord were to allow one of his faithful followers to fall ill with cancer just so they would be able to witness to the lost man in the hospital bed beside them..would you say that the Lord is wrong? No matter how painful things in life may be..stay strong in the Lord..seek his will..pray that, from out of your scars..from out of your pain, he will cause beautiful things to rise.

on sadness and redemption part 2

Before I go any further I must make a few things clear..first off, I am not a bible scholar. I am speaking from my heart..from my own personal experiences. I pray that the things I write are pleasing to the Lord and that they match the direction that He would like me to follow..be it so, I’m sure that some of my lowly mortal ideas are not one hundred percent on target. Please do not hold any of my opinions as being undeniable truth unless, of course, it be a direct quote from the bible or a statement obviously made with biblical truth to back it..for example- ”Jesus loves you.” How I interpret things may be completely different from how you see it..but now, that is why I started a blog..so that I can say what I feel like saying. The second thing, which I’m sure my writing thus far has already proved..I am not an english major,if I was id probably be failing terribly. My grammar is ”briana grammar” and if you know me..then you know nothing about me is proper…ever. I may need to copy this onto the front page of my blog because I’m sure that the need to say this will be a repeated one. So now..after all that is said, let me move on to why I am really here..sadness and redemption part two.
When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, LORD, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple. – Jonah 2:7
The story of Jonah and the whale is a story that children who are taught the bible (which unfortunately is far too few these days) are fascinated by. The idea of a man being in the belly of a whale is an exciting concept for children and i was reminded of this the other night. Trinitee and i have an illustrated childrens bible that we read every night before her bedtime..i think i enjoy it almost as much as she does..but, a few nights ago we read the story of Jonah. She clung to every word..her eyes grew wider with excitement the more i read. It got me thinking..as an adult,you really don’t hear about ol’ Jonah too often. Could it be that the idea of a giant fish throwing up some dude on a beach somewhere is just too far-fetched for a sophisticated adult to believe? This is a perfect example why the Lord urges us to come before him as a child would. The story of Jonah is breathtaking..it is a story so many hurting, lost people need to hear. The bible does not lie. The truth it holds is so concrete that even the catastrophes of Armageddon could not (and will not) shake it. It grieves my heart to think of all the souls that are blinded by pride or by scientific “reason” who curse our Lord and spit hatred onto the sovereign word of God..it will take these catastrophes of Armageddon mentioned above to finally open their eyes to the bibles truth..and sadly by that point, it will likely be far too late for many of them to recant their stubborn choice to refuse the Lord’s invitation to lifesaving redemption. Why so many hate christianity i just can’t understand. It is a message based on selfless love and nothing else..so many people skew the word of God to make christianity into something that it is not..but it is simple..God loves us so much he sent his son to die an agonizing death so an evil humanity could have the choice to believe and to be freed from the chains of sin. He loves us so much he had his son butchered just so we could choose to have life.
If i woke up tomorrow morning to news reports proclaiming the outbreak of a virus that, without exception, was deadly..a virus that every baby born on this planet would have and every person alive would eventually catch, i would be devastated beyond description. But what would be even more devastating would be a knock on the door from men telling me that Rory was the only human on this planet that possessed the supernatural antibody needed to create a cure but “unfortunately mam, the child will have to sacrifice his life for us to have access to the antibody, this is humanities only hope of survival..the child will feel no pain..it will be like he is going to sleep.” I cannot even imagine the affliction that would drown my soul..but i would have to say yes. i would first make sure that my son’s life would not be taken in vain..i would mandate that this miracle cure be given to EVERYONE, whether they want it or not. If my son is going to give his life to save humanity then this virus shall not make a mockery of his life! Not one person shall die from this virus if my son gives his life! Any parent who reads this i’m sure can understand. Think about God..God is not some all controlling dictator who forces us to accept the cure that the death of his only son has granted us. He loves us so much he allowed his son not to be painlessly “put to sleep” but to be mercilessly slaughtered just so we could have the choice to live. And Jesus.. before his resurrection he was a mortal man..he could have chosen to walk away. The night before he was crucified he was scared..our Lord was scared..he cried and begged God to let his fate be different. but, it could not be different..Jesus gave himself as a sacrifice for us. The blood that dripped down the cross..the cross that Jesus died an excruciating, agonizing death upon..was filled with the selfless, pure antibody that is our only hope for life..the only cure..yet so many reject it.
Just like Jonah, my life was being chiseled down..almost to nothing. I was so barred beneath my sin..but through that black void of my life i continued to cry out to God..even though i was sure that i had gone too far to be recovered..even though i believed that i was too torn and dirty to be refurbushed..i knew he was there. My cries..the prayers that came out of my filthy mouth – He still allowed them to enter into his presence – He heard them. That selfless, pure blood of Jesus.. it reached down into the hopeless pit of death that i was in and it cured me from the certain death that i deserved.
 WORTHLESS. HOPELESS. INSIGNIFICANT. ABANDONED.  BARREN. DISGUSTING. DIRTY. FULL OF SHAME. EMPTY.
 Jesus does not discriminate..he does not reject one who asks him to save them..no matter how filthy they are..no matter how dark their sin. The redemption that has brought me back to life is available to ANYONE who asks. Jesus loves you no matter how much you belive that you don’t deserve it. What he has done for me he will do for any who asks. Because of Him i am now
WORTHY. HOPEFUL. SIGNIFICANT. FOUND. FRUITFUL. DELIGHTFUL. CLEAN. FULL OF LIFE.