Remember the feeling? Of a parent or loved one waiting for you with open arms? Maybe you were running towards your parent for a big hug after a tough day at school. Or maybe you were jumping off the side of a pool into their arms. Perhaps it was more recently, returning from a trip apart from a loved one. Whatever the situation is, there is something safe, something comforting about running into someones open arms - the anticipation that someone is waiting for you and actually WANTING you to join with them.
Today is our blessed Easter Sunday. I pray that all of you enjoyed time praising our Savior for his triumph over death - the death that all of us should have endured. This entire week can be emotional as we ride the roller coaster our Lord did from shouts of Alleluia on Palm Sunday to the somberness of the upper room on Maundy Thursday. We then move into the agony Jesus suffered on Good Friday to the rejoicing of Easter morning. This past week reminded me much of the highs and lows we all endure in our own lives and the journey we are on.
Our lives can be filled with times of joy. These monumental times throughout our lives can be encompassed with happiness and smiles. Similar to the joy that we had on Palm Sunday. There are also times when we become reflective and somber. I know this has happened in my life, times when I think about what I have, where I think God wants me to go - and all too often, where "I" believe my life should go. It can be those reflective times when we ponder about what is happening on our journey.
These times can sometimes lead to much suffering, much agony. This suffering can come in the face of physical dilemmas, or relationship ones. The suffering can come through great emotion and can even test our faith in God. Those times of suffering and agony can lead us in many directions. As I remember those times in my life, the memories are difficult to endure. They were filled with physical pain, they were filled with emotional distraught, they were filled with doubt. Have you felt that type of agony? Maybe you are feeling it now? That type of suffering seems to be overwhelming and can drive us to difficult decisions.
What is important is that we keep walking through those times - that we keep striving to move forward. Whatever that journey has in store for you, it is important for you to keep moving through it. Why? To seek what is on the other side of that suffering!! The joy that comes with welcoming arms is what we have to look forward to. The love that is felt on the other side of a difficult moment is what we long for, what we focus on. Think of those times when someone has waited for you with open arms. Do you remember that feeling? The safety, the security, the love, the hope that comes from that moment is what I know I long for. The difficult moments in our lives seem to last forever. Yet, if we keep on walking through them, learning and growing all the way, we come out on the other side of those moments. I know that I have come through those moments a different person - each time closer to my Lord.
You see, He is the one waiting on the other side with open arms. He is the one that has endured more than we can ever imagine. His Heavenly Father was waiting for Him, just like Jesus is waiting for us. Jesus, enduring death for our lives, is waiting for us in paradise. He is waiting there with open arms. Yet, it isn't just in heaven where we can feel His love and security. His arms surround us here on Earth as well. You might feel those arms from a friend or loved one. Maybe you feel those arms in a smile or words of hope. Those strong and faithful arms of Jesus are around us.
As you cherish those monumental times in your lives, the somber moments as well, remember to walk through the agonizing moments to the arms that are waiting for you on the other side. Remember that Jesus is here yesterday, today, and forever. We are God's children; He has called each one of us to be with him, yesterday, today and forever. His arms are always open for us. Whatever moment you may be in right now, know that Jesus has been there too. He has felt physical pain; He has endured emotional distraught. He has walked into the arms of His heavenly Father. Jesus raised from the dead so that our trials and tribulations would be moments of learning, moments of growth, and moments that bring us closer to Him. So keep walking, straight into His arms!!
"And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them."
(NIV) Mark 10:16