"All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
(Matthew 11:27-30 NIV)
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
(John 16:33 NIV)
To be honest, my discovery wasn’t because I was deep in prayer. It wasn’t something that came during my quiet time. I’d like to tell you it was during my Easter preparation, as I sought something encouraging to share with you, during this global first, as we celebrate Easter separately, but unified in Christ’s love, but it wasn’t. (Actually, that part is encouraging, the fact that even in separation, we are unified through the love of Jesus.)
My discovery actually came because I didn’t like the way the background looked for everyone to see in these days of the new normal. Now that we are maintaining proper social distancing in the wake of COVID-19, more folks are able to look around my house and office virtually when I’m in a webinar, or meeting with our servant leaders, church family or even hanging out via Google Hangouts or Zoom with friends and associates.
From my small home office as I looked at my laptop peering back at me through the small camera located at the top center of my computer, I saw my bookshelf with Bibles, books, devotionals, various types of journals and a few old copies of ESPN The Magazine. I saw my bulletin board with passwords and family’s personal information (birthdates, Social Security numbers, etc.), and thought I better move those, and so I replaced them with prayers given to me by a friend and one of our Sunday school classes, a picture my mom colored, my youngest daughter and son-in-law’s “We tied the knot!” wedding announcement, the save-the-date postcard for my oldest daughter’s upcoming wedding (Lord willing), and the book jacket from the sports devotional I once co-authored. I then looked at the blank dry erase board where I often write reminders, Scripture verses or inspirational messages on. I thought I should probably have something written on it, and that’s when my discovery came.
Perhaps it was the leading of the Holy Spirit, or perhaps it’s the times we’re living in, and the constant news of this world’s crisis. Perhaps it’s because I’m a pastor and writer, or perhaps it’s because my prayer is that during this time of uncertainty, many folks who don’t know Jesus, would turn to Christ amidst their fear and worry. Given those two things that were/are occupying my mind, the words wove together in my cognitive schema, Christ and The Crisis. As I wrote them with my dry erase markers on the blank space, I discovered then what I’ve discovered during some of the darkest times in my life – Christ is in the crisis. I’d never thought about how the two formed an anagram, how they are woven together with most of the same letters. This literary and spiritual synergy that “Christ is” in “The Crisis,” like our Savior, should be a constant reminder as Jesus consoled His followers shortly before that very first Easter, saying, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
As you go about your new normal, whatever that is, with care, caution and concern, let me encourage you to celebrate the resurrection of Christ by coming to Him with your prayers and praises, your weariness and worry, your burdens and battles, and find rest for your souls in this troubled world. For the message of Easter is Jesus has overcome death and this world! HE IS RISEN! HE IS RISEN INDEED! Happy Easter and God bless.