a. 6:3 Literally, immersion, in a rite of initiation and purification
There once was a house in our town that most would find unsuitable for all but a stray cat. An old farmhouse at the crest of a hill, the dilapidated structure was 20 years overdue for a good painting, junk practically encasing it, tall weeds standing guard to screen the view. Imagine my surprise when I learned that the old man who owned that house was one of the local bank's wealthiest customers! Not only did he hold the title to the ramshackle dwelling, he also owned all sorts of land around it. Yet, he still lived as a pauper.
Too often, it seems, we live like the rich old man at the top of the hill. We have wealth beyond all measure, yet we live like panhandlers.
We become hyperfocused on our suffering. We grieve for our children and their difficulties. Anger percolates as we do battle with school staff and doctors. Bitterness festers as we watch everyone else go on dates and vacations as we find ourselves trapped at home with meltdowns and medical mayhem. Despair finally attempts to set up residence when the insurance company gives us trouble or the flood of bills threatens to drown.
Instead of giving in to the grimness of our circumstances, we need to become fixated on the victory that is already ours. Like the runner who is 3 strides ahead in the race with the finish line in sight, we should be pressing on with glad determination.
Still, it's so much easier said than done! I literally have to spend quiet time before my day begins to encroach, meditating in wonder that the same power that burst Jesus from the grave resides inside of me now. Wow! I must determine that I will not settle for my spiritual poverty of defeat when I already know for certain that no matter the circumstance, my story ends in victory.
God has never abandoned me before. He never will. And He won't abandon you either.
Our lives are an endurance race -- a marathon. Just as Jesus went before us, keeping his eyes fixed on the prize (See Hebrews 12:1-3), so we must remember with awe and grateful joy what he's holding for us at life's finish line. Because we are a Last Supper People, a Good Friday People, suffering through the most difficult, painful parts of this marathon, we can also press on with the confidence that we are an Easter People as well.
What promise! What matchless hope! No difficult circumstance is too difficult for our God! If He overcame death itself, He will doubtless give us the victory in our toughest stretches of the journey.
PRAY: Father God, You know we suffer from short-term memory loss. When we are undergoing some of life's most challenging times, remind us that we are also overcoming by the victory Jesus obtained for us at Easter. Restore our hope when despair is knocking at our door.
~ Barb Dittrich