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When Things Look Dead

It’s never long before Easter when life starts to spring up - have you noticed that? Around the Hope Center for Women, we have a wide variety of random bits up Springtime popping up everywhere we look. It is a good to have such a visual reminder that God is still in the business of creating all the time because He is a God of resurrection power.

As I rolled the trash can out to the street last week for our pickup day, I found God drawing my eyes to this little patch of wild daffodils growing near the edge of the driveway, along the fence lines. He brought to my mind one of many Spring Breaks we would spend right here in Kentucky when I growing up, visiting my Nana. She and I would always take long walks and she would point out all the Spring flowers blooming everywhere.

“Which one is your favorite?” she would always ask me. Inevitably, I would always choose some weed or something that looked dead and tell her that it was the prettiest one. She would laugh at me and tell me that it was just something dead. But the young me would keep careful watch on that thing the whole week we were there. Regardless of what my Nana said, I was convinced there was something there. And more often than not, something beautiful sprung from the dead thing during that week. A sprout, a bud, a bloom, a flower….something that showed that there was still life there.

Looking back, I see a great big God trying to show a very little girl that life can spring up from things that look dead.

I stood there in the driveway, fascinated by the fact that God still gives me visuals like that to build my faith and remind me that He is still in the business of resurrecting the things that appear to be dead. From a young age, I have always been drawn to things that look dead. When asked to choose their favorite thing outdoors in Springtime, most everyone picks the obviously beautiful things with bold colors and lush blooms. The young me always chose things that looked dead and told my Nana, “you never know, that one might be keeping a secret.” In my mind, I thought, who really knew? Maybe it’s flowers had not come out yet, or maybe it just looked dead and really wasn’t. The now older me would choose the same thing, if I were ever asked to.

The mysterious has always been beautiful to me.

That morning last week, I came back inside to spend my early morning quiet time with God. I went flipping through the gospels, reading the different accounts of the resurrection of Jesus. I love to compare and contrast the four gospels. I love the varying perspectives. But my heart always lands its home in the book of John. I love his accounting of the life of Jesus the most. As I began praying for the Lord to put me where He wanted me to be in the Word to prepare my heart for Easter, I found myself at the story of the crucifixion in the gospel of John.

And slowly, I found a new understand stirring up in me. I mean, I’ve read the account of the crucifixion countless times, so it’s easy for it to be routine and me just skim through that part. But as I moved from the crucifixion of Jesus to the resurrection of Jesus, I kept thinking about the back yard of the Hope Center for Women and all of a sudden the stories took on deeper meaning.

You see, our back yard is a mess – to be fully honest. A man in our church graciously donated his services to come and top our trees. However, since then, it’s been wet and he hasn’t been able to bring his equipment to come clear everything away and finish the job. His ladder is still leaning up against one of the trees and everything. It really is a mess. I think before it is all said and done, we may see Sue Cline and Melinda Wynn out there with axes chopping wood because they love to do it. But really, we have grown accustomed to it. We laugh and refer to it as a wasteland or a wilderness or a jungle. But really, it is just a bunch of what appears to be dead tree limbs. Until you look closer.

They look dead, and yet, there is life springing up from the branches.

Jesus died on a cross.

He body was prepared for burial and placed in a tomb that was closed by a stone.

Early in the morning, just three days later, Mary Magdalene went to His tomb and discovered that Jesus was gone. His grave clothes were there, but He Himself was not.

At first, they all think He has been taken and they’re heartbroken that someone has stolen the body of their Lord….but eventually, they all realize that a miracle of God has taken place.

They see the risen Christ and they believe. Shortly after that, Jesus appears to another group and after walking through a wall, asking for a little something to eat, and letting Thomas touch His wounds, there is a general consensus that He had actually done what He said He would do.

So there’s my very brief synopsis of the resurrection of Jesus. But here is the thing I think is incredibly fascinating. We do not know when He actually AROSE from the dead.

We do not have any idea what happened in that dark tomb between Jesus and His Father. We have no visual and no accounting for that exact moment that He actually rose from the dead, other than the fact that He had arranged His grave clothes very neatly before He left the tomb. (Which I think is very polite and thoughtful for a man who just woke up from death. I appreciate a person with who gives attention to little details.)

Sometime in the dark of a sealed tomb, a miracle happened….and not one soul knew it at that time. It was not until that morning of the third day that the beautiful truth was made known to them.

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It struck me that in a sense, so many people in our world today are living in that moment. In reality, so many in our community, in our small corner of the world, are living in that moment. They are weeping in their homes, crying out by an empty tomb, begging to see that they have not been deceived….that He is not going to let us down and leave us to face the fact that it might have all been a hoax.

So many precious people walk side by side on the dusty road to Emmaus, never knowing that He walks right there alongside them. They are already weeping with discouragement, unaware of the footsteps of the Holy One being imprinted next to theirs.

You see, we do not get to be in the tomb with Jesus in Scripture. There is a gap of time between the miracle itself and when we get to see the evidence of it.

We walk in that gap every single day of our lives.

I think that many of Jesus’ followers probably thought He really was dead and gone, and that they had been totally deceived. As far as I can tell in my Bible, there were not droves of people huddled around His tomb crying out and awaiting His exit. They were bundled up in their homes, miles away, left with only their own fleshly reasonings and imaginations

But during those very moments, what happened? HE AROSE. Hallelujah, Christ arose!

The strong, resilient man that we call our Christ was dead….or so it seemed. But God was working behind the scenes and Christ arose.

Jesus is not in a tomb. Jesus is risen. We serve a living Savior whose resurrection power lives in us. Wow.

I have been pretty well wrecked and undone ever since last week at the simple, humble reminder that somewhere in the night, there is a divine plan that I am unaware of. While I go through my days facing whatever it is I have to face and dealing with the daily challenges of this life, I remember the tomb of my Jesus. I remember the long, winding roads that He walked carrying His cross on His wounded shoulders. I remember the long, winding roads that I must sometimes walk to see His face. I will anticipate the moment where the bread is broken and I fall face down before Him in worship and adoration.

I will continue to choose the things that look dead as my favorites. I will continue to choose to love the tree limbs that seem to hold mysterious secrets of life.

I will not be entranced by things that fade quickly, but rather allow myself to live in the mindset that I had as a very little girl who somehow realized that the most amazing things we can look to in this life is the people and things that are hidden, waiting to be resurrected and reborn.

Resurrection takes on new meaning for me this year as I have gotten to witness what all God has done in me and so many other girls through the Hope Center for Women. A lot of us looked pretty dead at some point in our lives, to the human eyes. But God fixed His eyes on us and captivated us so much, through this place and some really great people, that we fixed our eyes on Him. And when we fixed our eyes on Him, His resurrection power did a work in our lives. What once looked dead in us, is now alive and beautiful in Him and it is pretty amazing to get to see.

So this Easter I celebrate the beautiful mystery of all the things that appear to look dead….because they are really just hidden miracles awaiting to spring up into the fullness of their beauty under the gaze of the resurrected Jesus.

“But forget the former things— do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing. Now, it springs up! Do you not perceive it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland."

{ Isaiah 43:18-19 }

#resurrection #power #Jesus #Easter #crucifixion #scripture #hopecenterforwomen #newlife #rebirth #restoration #beauty

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