Awake, O Sleeper! // Easter 2020

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”—yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. -James 4:13–17

“Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. -Ephesians 5:14–17

On the evening of February 24, which now feels practically like a year ago, my husband and I simply stayed home. Unremarkable? Perhaps. But we really should have been at a local community center taking full advantage of a month-long membership nearing expiration.

That night we learned of a shooting at the center. An employee who’d helped us adjust our membership was dead. A day later, I shared some thoughts online, which included this statement: “The every day truth is we literally do not know what the next moment will bring.”

Just a few weeks later and the unthinkable began to affect us all—this global pandemic and simultaneous economic crisis that even we sci-fi fans didn’t ultimately believe could actually happen. Yet here we are, watching over a million worldwide become ill and thousands die, perhaps even people we know and love, as we “stay at home” and try to protect ourselves and others. And I realize again that stark reality: We do not know what tomorrow will bring. But despite this truth, we’re often so busy sleeping our way through life that we neglect to take seriously the most important things.

Thankfully, our Creator does take our lives, and our eternities, very seriously. Violence, disease and death entered our world because we neglected to listen even to God. For that, He could have rightfully returned the favor and simply neglected us. Instead, He is not only aware of the fears and pains we try to ignore, He came and experienced them Himself.

As we face a pandemic that both figuratively and sometimes literally takes our breath away, I’m reminded of Jesus’ struggle to breathe on the cross. A victim of this kind of crucifixion was hung in such a way that they were forced to push up by the feet in order to exact a full breath. With His feet nailed in place, this already impaired action was beyond excruciating.

I also imagine the moment Jesus returned to life. What was it like to take that first full, deep breath? No struggle or pain. He came out of the tomb completely restored and alive.

Those two little snapshots offer just a tiny picture of how seriously God takes our situation. The first is a picture of God suffering for us, taking the punishment and death we deserve on Himself. The second shows the defeat of death and a resurrection we also can have in renewed bodies and, ultimately, a world restored without death, debilitation or disease. This is just part of what the Lord offers to anyone who believes in Him.

So I ask sincerely: Do you believe?

You may live to 100 or die unexpectedly tomorrow, but every one of us has an expiration date. That next breath is not guaranteed. Our lives truly are “a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” So I urge you to fully believe in who Jesus Christ is, what He’s done and what that means for you. The whole Bible is His story. Take a look at those pages. Ask Him to show Himself to you.
If you need a Bible or have questions, never hesitate to ask.

Whatever you do, don’t sleep through this moment. This is that wake up call to be raised from death, just as Jesus was on that first Easter morning, and to make the best use of the very limited time God has given you here. For the Christian, this means us too.

I’m thankful the Lord has spared me so far through all these recent events so I could share this with you. I pray He’ll awaken you to respond to Him.

Stay safe. Be well. God bless you.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you! Wonderful comparison of our Savior's acts on Easter and what we need in this pandemic. Agree with you - may we not let his season pass by. Thank you!


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