What a Relief
This week's focus:
One of the most significant verses in the Bible is, “Do not be afraid! You come seeking for Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified – He is not here! For He is risen!” (Mark 16:6)
Upon entering the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem, I was overcome with gratitude for and awe of the power of God. What a relief to know that not even death could hold Jesus down. No matter how bleak the world looks through the lens of the nonstop media reports and headline news, believers don’t have to fret over the future because the tomb was empty! Jesus fulfills His promises. He said He would rise again, and He said He is coming back.
I’ve often said that the best emotion in the world is relief—that beautiful feeling of reassurance and optimism following the lifting of anxiety, pain, distress, and pressure from our shoulders. Mary, the mother of Jesus, experienced all these negative emotions as she watched her firstborn Son being tortured on a cross. Intellectually, she may have known this day would come, but emotionally, her heart was shattered, and her faith tested to its limit (see Luke 2) when Simeon prophesized that a sword would pierce Mary’s soul). Mary had to suffer tremendous pain on Friday, but can you imagine how great her relief was on Sunday when her despair was transformed into overwhelming joy?
Relief is beautiful because it provides many unexpected benefits: it comforts us, multiplies our gratitude, reminds us to not take anything for granted, and removes blinders from our eyes. We are better people on the other side of relief.
Before experiencing the relief of seeing the risen Savior, the disciples ached with the pain and confusion of what happened, so much so that their grief blinded them. Trapped in the dark, they forgot what Jesus had taught them in the light. My heart swells when I think of the joy the disciples felt when they witnessed the miracle of a resurrection! The light of the world chased the darkness away when He rose victoriously from the grave.
Let’s be thankful we have all eternity to praise Jesus for the sacrifice He made to save us. What a relief it is to know Him, to belong to Him, and to trust in Him. We never have to worry about unwritten chapters in our story when we know who the Author is.
What a relief!
“Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy.”
Pray: Dear Jesus, What a relief it is to belong to You. We praise and glory in the fact that you have overcome the world and now sit at the right hand of the Father. While we wait for Your return, help us remember that our current sufferings won't compare to the joy of spending eternity in Your presence.
Think: “Our common country is in great peril, demanding the loftiest views, and boldest action to bring it speedy relief.” – Abraham Lincoln
Act: The Senate is expected to vote soon on the deceptively named “Respect for Marriage Act.” While there are compelling reasons for Christians to oppose redefining marriage in federal law, concerns related to religious freedom are equally alarming. While the majority opinion in Obergefell stated that “those who adhere to religious doctrines” may continue “to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction” that same-sex marriage should not be condoned, what has happened across the country in recent years is instead what Justice Samuel Alito anticipated would happen in his dissent. At the time, Justice Alito predicted that the court’s decision “will be used to vilify Americans who are unwilling to assent to the new orthodoxy.” He presciently observed that those who disagree about same-sex marriage “will risk being labeled as bigots and treated as such by governments, employers, and schools.” The consequences for religious liberty in this bill are serious. Send a message to your Senators today, urging them to vote “no.” If you already took action on this last week, thank you!
We want to see God honored in America, and we pray for an unprecedented spiritual awakening.
This devotion was produced in partnership with Every Home for Christ.
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