Friday 16 November 2018

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We Will Rise Victorious

This Easter morning, Black and Missing Foundation, Inc. reposts contributor Rev. Yvette Blair’s  rousing word on the hope of the resurrection of Christ. Take a moment to read, and then to bask in the gift of life God gave us through his son Jesus Christ.

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John 17:19-20 (New Living Translation) “And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth. I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message.” These words are part of Jesus’ final prayer to God. He prayed this just before his betrayal, arrest and crucifixion.

Behind the shouts of “amen” and “hallelujah” on this most celebrated and sacred day in the lives of Christians, when many of us rise in unison to sing “He Got Up from the Grave” we do so remembering that there are some dark days that stand in the shadow of this Resurrection Sunday, dark days that we can overcome through the power of our risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

When Jesus Christ made his courageous journey to the Cross on Calvary where he was crucified, he looked at all the onlookers, many of whom were snickering and shouting “crucify him,” and he was likely thinking: as bad and devastating as this experience is, it won’t always look like this –for me or them. Things had suddenly taken a turn for the worst. He went from being admired and affirmed by the people in the crowd for the public miracles that he performed, for the thousands that he fed with a measly fish and bread loaves, for healing a woman with an issue of blood and for raising his dear friend Lazarus from the dead to now being accused, arrested and arraigned.

Yes, things had drastically changed and his life had been turned upside down. In a span of just a few hours, he was betrayed by one of his chosen disciples, denied three times by another one and was now carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders – literally. And like many of us who have faced devastating experiences of suffering and asking God to free us from such trying times, so did Jesus. Our Lord and Savior, who was fully human and divine, understood what it meant to suffer. And like us, he simply wanted God to fix it.

In one of his last sayings on the Cross, Jesus cried out “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me,” words borrowed from Psalm 22. Hours earlier Jesus had been in the garden of Gethsemane, pleading with God to fix this yet God’s plan prevailed and Jesus ultimately yielded to God’s authority and painstakingly uttered those now famous words in Luke 22:42 “Father if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done.” The pain of what he was experiencing on the Cross was excruciating spiritually and physically. He was dealing with a double-threat and he was slowly shutting down. Yet he remained hopeful knowing that because of God’s plan and purpose for his life, he would emerge victorious – even from a horrific ordeal – and so can we.  In the midst of circumstances that leave us feeling forsaken, we, too, cry out to God looking for relief, release and respite from the anguishing pain. We want the weight of worrying, waiting and being impatient to be lifted from our shoulders, and for whatever reason, God is saying not just yet. But know this: when it’s time, we will emerge victorious.

Resurrection Sunday is proof that Jesus Christ emerged victorious. It’s the day when our Lord and Savior got up from a brief stay in the grave, rising with all power and authority in his hands.  Christ’s criminal-like death on the cross marks our identity as a people of faith – a people will who rise victorious over our experiences that often leave us broken, emotionally bruised and mentally worn.

Yes, we face dark days whether it’s a broken relationship, a missing loved one, the natural death of a family member or any other circumstance that renders us feeling desperate and hopeless. But there is hope. If there’s one thing that faith in Jesus Christ teaches us, it is to be hopeful no matter what. Through the power of our risen Savior we are given a peace that surpasses all understanding. We are given the strength to muster up enough energy to move forward “anyhow.” Today, on Resurrection Sunday, is a good day to reclaim your hope.

Echoing the words of Psalm 30: 5, “Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning,” let us remember that Jesus’ morning didn’t come quick. God’s plan for Jesus’ life on earth spanned three years and it took each of those experiences, good and bad, that led to Good Friday and  his place and position on the Cross before he rose on Easter Sunday.  So my brothers and my sisters, it won’t always look like this. Our day of victory is on its way. God’s plan is continuing to unfold even when it seems like nothing is happening. Morning will come, and with it, will be joy.

Prayer: God, for those who are mourning and facing inescapable pain, send your Holy Spirit to comfort them. For those who feel broken emotionally, spiritually and physically, help them Lord to reclaim hope. God, on this day when your Son Jesus Christ got up from the grave with all power in his hands, remind us that as your children, we have the power, through him, to rise from our painful circumstances and situations and that it won’t always look like this. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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Rev. Yvette R. Blair-Lavallais is a United Methodist minister and a certified spiritual director. She is the founder of Damselfly Faith Ministry where women who are struggling in their Christian faith share their journey. She is also the author of numerous published literary works and has been featured in the Langdon Review, New Texas, Texas Short Stories II and most recently served as editor-in-chief of the Perkins Student Journal, a publication of works produced by graduate students at Perkins School of Theology in Dallas. She is the Director of Christian Connection at a Dallas-area church. Follow her on Twitter: @damselfly_faith and www.damselflyfaith.blogspot.com

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