Easter is the crown of the Christian faith. The resurrection of Christ extends it into a hereafter, exempt from the miseries and tragedies that we face in this life. I have had more than my share in losses and suffering. When I lost 75% of the use of my hands, in a fire, I was taught to accept my tragedy as some disciplinary action of God. Later in life, I realized that accidents happen and we use them to keep us humble. I was told that God had a reason to let this happen to me. World leaders, political and religious, continue to exploit accidents and natural disasters to keep us in line with their thinking. Even the tragedy of Japan has become a disciplinary testing of our faith. Who is behind this kind of thinking? Who is doing the exploiting? Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, I do it to myself. The God, of the Bible, does not need to exploit my weakness or failures. My fellowmen do.
The first page in the Bible depicts a good and benevolent Creator. On page three, the exploiter, Satan began to plague the first couple. We turn to the teaching of Jesus and He regarded God as being the only good Father. Then James, half-brother to Jesus, regarded God as the bestower of all good gifts. Peter, the cornerstone of the first Christian Church, insisted that God was not willing that anyone should perish. God who cannot change, when did He change? We change our perceptions and then assign the occurrences, over which we have to control, to God. We simply assume that He is angry with us; and therefore, is punishing us. We, completely, overlook the fact that there is another superior creature that has the capacity to exploit everything that is good. Then he lets us, those who are extremely gullible, assume that God is behind it. Jesus, in His Revelation, is very clear that Satan is on earth and creates chaos and everything else that is evil (Rev.12: 9-12). In contrast to Satan, God loves the world and was willing to share His Son with us (Jn.3: 16). And being created in His image, we are quite capable of building things that harm us. We do have the will to choose what and who would serve us best.
We treat Easter as the answer to our earthly failures. In Christ, we can escape by faith and endure all the uncontrollable miseries that befall us. While our spirit soars, our body takes a beating. We are but one step from glory land, where we no longer shall need a body. Unfortunately, it is this last step, that also happens to be the one step we shall ever have; where and when, we can make something of ourselves and in the world we live in. The idea that Christ has rolled out a carpet for us, to walk on, is unreal. Even Christ could not carry the cross alone; at least, not as a human being. He had Simon of Syrene help Him make it to Golgotha. He told those that intend to share in His mission, that it would require that they bear their crosses and not His (Mt.16: 24). Christ has finished carrying His cross. We still have a way to go, up or down hill. Far too many have allowed their cross to crush them. We have been led, to believe that all our accounts have been settled; when in reality, we are expected to carry our own cross. It is not God that tells us that we are too weak to take care of our problems (I Cor.10: 13). Who then is exploiting our faith and tells us that we have become too sinful to help ourselves?
We have done it and are continuing to do it to ourselves. Who said, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Ro.3: 23)? Was it God or was it Paul? What was Paul’s opinion of himself? It was dung (Phil.3: 8). He felt that there was nothing good in him (Ro.7: 18). What was God’s opinion? Man was good, made in God’s image, and can act like a god. He can manage the world. To Jesus, man was worth more than the whole world. Who is making us so bad that we are no longer worth saving? Why then did God send His Son to show us how we can manage in this world? He will not do what we can do for ourselves. We must stop piling our crosses on others. For Easter, to become a reality for us; we, too, must bear our cross that requires the highest sacrifice for what we believe. Easter is not some ship we have already boarded and are waiting for Captain Jesus to return and take us to His planet. It is not death, that we must conquer; but, the very life we live. Will we be able to say, “It is finished?”