I got creative and desperate and offered my 4-year-old the only thing I could find in my purse that I did not mind never seeing again: a business card with my picture on it. She said holding on to this would help her make it through this trying time of separation during church. I handed her the card, wiped her tears, and walked out of her classroom.
A few minutes later I decided to take a peek at the camera screens where I see she slowly pushes her chair away from the table, gets up, and walks ever so sluggishly to the carpet. She lays the card on the floor, gets on her belly, rests her head in her palms, and just gazes at the picture!! Then Y’all, as if that was not dramatic enough, she sits up, crosses her legs (still in complete isolation, mind you), and holds the picture close to her face looking at it as one would look through a magnifying glass.
Did my baby have a reason to long for her mother? Yes indeed! My presence offers her comfort and security. (Not to mention I am flat out fun to be around.) As hard as it was, I knew that in that particular moment my presence was not what was best. It was better in the long run that she wrestles in that momentary discomfort in order that she may learn how to be productive even when I’m not around. After service, when I went to pick her up she grabbed my hand and told me how much she enjoyed the class. She’d gone from tears to cheers. And I could not have been happier for the both of us!
Have you ever longed for a change? Have you ever wished someone would come in and relieve your hardship, be it sadness, loneliness, financial struggles, or health issues? I’ve been there. The good news is Olivia, you, and I are not the only people to ever feel this way. Turns out, the people of Jerusalem were waiting with great anticipation for some king to come in and rescue them from the oppressive rule of the Roman Empire. When they first heard about Jesus they cheered “Hosanna, in the Highest!” They were excited about the idea that a new king was rising up to finally offer them freedom. But when He failed in their expectations by refusing to lead them in a massive revolt against the Roman leaders, the crowds quickly turned on Him. Within just a few days, their hosannas changed to cries of “Crucify Him!” (Luke 23:20-21).
Did these people have a reason to long for freedom? Yes indeed. A political figure on their side could offer fairness and peace in the land. But in that particular moment, Jesus rising as a political figure overturning Roman rule was not what was best. It was better in the long run that the people wrestle through their momentary struggles in order that Jesus’ ultimate purpose be accomplished: to offer eternal salvation. You see, Jesus had to die. Blood had to be shed. And the Roman officials were going to be the ones to carry that out. Yes, there was a political issue in the land. But, more importantly, there was a sin issue in the world.
As much as they disagreed with this approach, crying “Crucify Him! Crucify Him! “Jesus did not give in.
On that day, Jesus did not ride into Jerusalem to conquer Rome. He rode in to conquer death. On that day, Jesus did not ride in to change people’s situation. He rode in to change people’s hearts. The only way for this to happen was for him to obey his Father and go to the cross.
Thank goodness, Jesus has the power to come in and overturn any form of oppression in our lives and sometimes He does it just the way we desire. Thank goodness all the more that sometimes He, in His infinite wisdom, does not!
Jesus died for us in order that we may live an abundantly blessed and free life for Him. You may not always feel blessed and free. You may feel sad and lonely. There may be tears. Wrestle with it. Keep in mind that because they did indeed “crucify Him,” He did indeed rise from the dead. Therefore, “. . . our momentary, light suffering is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:17).
After our service is complete and He comes to pick us up, we too will go from tears to cheers.
Happy Resurrection Sunday!