“On Good Friday we remember that at the cross Jesus wipes away our sins, becoming a global magnet that draws the whole world to Himself. Good Friday also reminds me that embracing endings (deaths) and new beginnings (resurrections) is the pattern of life for every Christian. Nothing new takes place without an ending. A real ending – a final death – often feels like disintegration, falling apart, a coming undone. It feels that way because that is what death is. It is an ending that requires walking through a completely dark tunnel, not knowing when or if any light will come again. If we embrace these losses for the severe mercies they are, God does a profound work in us and through us in ways that are similar to what the apostle Paul describes as “death is at work in us, but life is at work in you” (2 Cor. 4:12). As a person who tends to resist accepting the necessity of endings, I consistently do four things to keep me on track:
- I face the brutal facts of situations where things are going badly and ask hard questions, even when everything inside me prefers to distract myself or flee.
- I remind myself not to follow my feelings during these times of embracing endings as a death.
- I talk with seasoned mentors who are older and more experienced, asking for their perspective and wisdom.
I ask myself two questions: What is it time to let go of in my personal life and in my leadership? What new thing might be standing backstage waiting to make its entrance in my personal life and in my leadership? This second question especially encourages me to move beyond my fears, reminding me that God has something good for me in the future – even though I may not see any hints of what that might be. Parker Palmer sums it up well: ‘On the spiritual journey…each time a door closes, the rest of the world opens up. All we need to do is to stop pounding on the door just closed, turn around – which puts the door behind us – and welcome the largeness of life that now lies open to our souls.’” Pete Scazzero
“death is at work in us”
2 Corinthians 4:12
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- Can you “embrace losses for the severe mercies they are?”
- Can you trust that God still has something good for you when that “door” closes?
- Can you wait well in the in between time, instead of acting out in some destructive way?
Abba, help me trust in your love when I experience the darkness of endings.
For More: Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Pete Scazzero
I appreciate your interest in Daily Riches! Please share! – Bill (Psalm 90:14)
“Yesterday, on the Cross, He darkened the sun’s light, and behold in full day it was as night; today death has lost its dominion, suffering itself a kind of death. Yesterday the earth mourned … and in sadness clothed itself in a garment of darkness. Today, the people that walked in darkness have seen a great light. … O new and unheard of happening! He is stretched out upon a Cross Who by His word stretched out the heavens. He is held fast in bonds Who has set the sand a bound for the sea. He is given gall to drink Who has given us wells of honey. He is crowned with thorns Who has crowned the earth with flowers. With a reed they struck His Head Who of old struck Egypt with ten plagues, and submerged the head of Pharaoh in the waves. That countenance was spat upon at which the Cherubim dare not gaze. Yet, while suffering these things He prayed for His tormentors, saying: Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. He overcame evil by goodness. Christ undertook the defense of those who put Him to death: eager to gather them into His net; annulling the charge, and pleading their ignorance. Made the sport of their drunken frenzy, He submitted without bitterness. He suffered their drunkenness, and in His love for mankind called them to repentance. What more could He do?” Amphilochius of Iconium
“I wonder maybe if our Lord doesn’t suffer more from our indifference, than he did from the crucifixion.” Fulton Sheen
“When they hurled their insults at him,
he did not retaliate;
when he suffered, he made no threats.
Instead, he entrusted himself
to him who judges justly.”
1 Peter 2:23
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- From the cross, Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Do you think those who killed Jesus fathomed the magnitude of their crime?
- Imagine how often this is true of us as well – not only in our obvious sins, but in our “indifference.” Can you admit this about yourself?
- Can you nevertheless believe that you are loved by God, just as you are? Sit with that and see what emotions arise.
Abba, thank you for your unfailing love – and for not revealing to me the full magnitude of my sin.
For More: The Lives of the Saints by Bert Bhezzi
These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest! – Bill (Psalm 90:14)
“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”