Moments, when I stand among hundreds of other brothers and sisters, when the haunting fingers of unbelief creep into the surety of my soul.
I feel like a fake among heroes.
I know it's a lie from hell itself.
But in those moments, flashbacks of regret, insurmountable shame, and hidden places where I nurse my idols seem more vivid than the Truth that His graces are new each day, that I've abandoned Hope a little too quickly.
And I smile, enough so you don't see the threads of unbelief casting shadows on the spaces where we are to be standing in communion together.
But, it's the Truth that sets you free.
And as I glance down an aisle of 10 faces...I am reminded that because of the Cross they are not abandoned, not forgotten, not orphaned.
Because of the Cross they can rest where there has been no rest, and look boldly into the face of darkness with hope where there has been no hope.
Because of the Cross, I can, you can...knowing the Victory has already been claimed, and we are seen as the One who is the Victor.
And I sigh, in wonder, as we sing In Christ Alone, holding the hands of my children, the children of mothers who would give the world to be in my place, to be standing beside their daughters and sons, without the presence of shame, regret, and hopelessness.
From life's first cry, to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of Hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from his hand...
And I squeeze Cinderella's hand tighter and pray this prayer, as she gives me butterfly kisses.
There may be an Easter day where she doesn't remember my name, but there will never been one where I don't cry out that the Victor would command her destiny and hold her tightly in His hand.
And I pray it for each of the eight children lined by my side.
And then I weep.
I weep because I realize the shame, the regret, the doubt, addictions and unbelief that haunt me are His mercies because tomorrow, next week, next month, and from years on, I will face their mommas, their fathers, their families. They will tell me of places where there is no hope, no life, no new beginnings.
And I will tell them I know of those places. I've heard of them. I've been there. They've haunted me, too.
But there's One who loves us still.
For you see, this story of Easter, the reason we dress up and lunch with our families, and hunt eggs, at the heart of it is the Gospel. We have reason to rejoice because we have been saved and rejoiced over.
The shame, the regret, the addictions and the hopelessness...He bore it all.
And, unless this story goes forth, we've missed the moments we were made for...to be channels of His glory.
And so today, we stood side by side, remembering and rejoicing in the Hope we have. Tomorrow, let us carry the Gospel forward in the Hope we were designed for. Let us remind and tell that it is not the end of our stories, their stories, because Our Jesus makes all things new.
Because of His Victory,