New Life

It happened. Finally. It started over the weekend and today in even greater splendor. It’s Spring in Pennsylvania. Yep, I looked outside and there it was. Leaves unfurling like “Old Glory”. I wanted to salute. In our window boxes were tulips that opened their petals seemingly overnight – tucked in among the pansies that my amazing wife planted last week. Vibrant with new life.

The boy birds are chasing the girl birds. Acting up when a rival comes to challenge their manhood. The grass is growing. The rose bushes are popping out of the ground. The temperatures are in the 60’s – sneaking into the 70’s late last week. I even got the bikes out of the basement in anticipation of a country ride. The howling winter is behind us and the dawn of a new day ahead. One full of promise and hope. A new season in nature and a new season in life.

As we approach Easter weekend, I’m reminded of how necessary it was for Christ to give His life for ours. In the Garden of Gethsemane, He pleaded for another way but yielded to His Father’s will. As the trees and plants yield to the winter winds and the freezing temperatures, Christ yielded to the fate of death. But just like the bright colored violet of the “Johnny Jump Ups”, Jesus rose from the ground and brought us new life in Him. He had to experience death before resurrection.

This metaphor reminds me of my own spiritual journey. How many winters did I run around this ball of dirt clueless about the purpose God had for me? Worse yet clueless about the relationship that was available and waiting in the “spring” of my life – alive in Him. As I now enter the “fall” of life I’m reminded that it’s never too late to experience the love God lavishes on me like the wisp of the Weeping Willow – surrounding me in His glory.

Jesus loves you. He loves me. I did nothing to deserve it. I invested most of my life chasing a dream that turned into a nightmare. Seeking some level of significance through my career and balance sheet that the world defined as GREAT, just to lose it all in a heartbeat. It about killed me. But the death I experienced was to myself. Death by a thousand cuts. But I finally received the healing balm of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It only took dying to my own desires for the desires of Christ. His desire was a simple one. A relationship with the true me. The one He created me to be, not the imposter I carried around on the outside. Now that’s FREEDOM. Freedom from the torment of creating my own path to significance.

Jesus asked His Father if there was an alternate path but yielded to the will of the Father – to die for all of us to live.

42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup of agony away from me.[a] But no matter what, your will must be mine.”

43 Jesus called[b] for an angel of glory to strengthen him, and the angel appeared. 44 He prayed even more passionately, like one being sacrificed,[c] until he was in such intense agony of spirit that his sweat became drops of blood, dripping onto the ground.[d] Luke 22 (TPT)

What I love about this scene is the humanity of Christ. For me, most of the agony I experienced was due to my own selfish motives, willing to compromise in pursuit of the all might dollar – traveling a road that God never intended. Trapped in the prison inside of me. One wreaked with the havoc of pursuing my own answers instead of the truth of who I am in Christ. Forgiven, redeemed and restored. For Jesus, He voluntarily gave His life for just one reason. Others centered love that would literally be torture. To save us from ourselves.

He created us in a garden (Eden) and He yielded His life for us in a garden (Gethsemane).

The good news is that we can all choose a NEW LIFE. He died to Himself and was resurrected to His Father. As one day we will. The only question that remains is whether eternity will be enjoyed WITH Him or in anguish APART from Him. Choose this day whom you will serve. Make it the resurrected King and experience the new life that was intended from the beginning.

Blessings to you in this Easter season.

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