Friday, April 22, 2011

The Power of the Cross

Today, April 22nd, is Good Friday. Good Friday is the Friday before Easter, and is the day in which the Lutheran church observes Christ’s crucifixion at Calvary. In the past, I’ve always understood and observed Easter, but it’s really only been within the last few years that I have REALLY started to understand the significance of all the other days that make up Holy Week. This year, I’ve been thinking a lot about Good Friday in particular, and really the weight of what that means for me.

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. – John 3:16-17 ESV

A few weeks ago, I heard about a sermon illustration wherein members of the congregation stood up at the front of the church holding up signs that said, “I used to be ___________.” Their blanks were filled with things like “a drug addict” or “bulimic” or “afraid” or “lonely” or “hopeless”. Then, everyone flipped their signs over to reveal something new. Their signs then said, “Through the power of the cross, now I am _________.” Their blanks were then filled with things like “500 days sober” or “loved” or “reconciled with my family” or “hopeful”.

I immediately started thinking of Good Friday and how this illustration is the perfect example of how what Christ did then on the cross is relevant to me today, and knew that I wanted to do this on my blog.

See, every person in the world has tough issues that they and their family deal with. Divorce. Infidelity. Shame. Family Conflict. Drugs and Alcohol. Hatred. Regret. Every single person. No one in the world, Christian or not, is exempt. Everyone has a story. However, in the midst of all of that, there is hope. Not because of anything that you or I have done, but because of Christ’s work on the cross.

It is because Jesus died on the cross at Calvary that I have a hope.

Personally, I grew up in the church, so I don’t have a “Before I was Saved” story—but even as someone who has believed in Jesus for as long as I can remember, I have walked through tough things. I have not always had a relationship with God. Even as someone who has been a Christian their whole life, I have needed redemption and grace. I am so thankful that I have received it, not because of anything that I’ve done, but because of what Jesus did for me on Good Friday so many years ago.

meredith2

I’ve shared on this blog before about our decision for me to stay at home, and how scary that was for us financially. But Justin and I were both absolutely sure that it was what God was calling us to do—and let me say, I had never EVER felt like God was calling me to do something specific before. I know people talk about it all the time, and admittedly, I used to kind of roll my eyes and think to myself, ‘Do you REALLY think God cares about THAT?’ And then it happened to me, and it totally freaked me out, because it didn’t make any sense. Ultimately, we took the leap of faith, and it has been amazing to watch the ways in which God has provided for our needs. Things haven’t been perfect. We’ve made some mistakes along the way, but the mistakes were ours, not God’s—and I think we’re beginning to learn that God may not provide for all of our wants, but he will provide for our needs. It has been a wonderful and humbling experience that has undoubtedly brought me closer to Him.

I am blessed that a few friends were willing to share their “cardboard testimony” today as well:

Kaitlin (and Jesse!) @ My Crazy Unpredictable Life:

Kait
(Two deployments in two years, five moves in four years, bedrest, 35 week NICU baby boy--through the power of the cross, our marriage survived!)

_______________________________________________________

Kristal @ Mama At Home:

Kristal1
Kristal2

_______________________________________________________


Megan @ Girl Meets Life:

Megan

_______________________________________________________

Sarah @ Sarah Says...:

Sarah1 (2)
Sarah1

_______________________________________________________

And if you haven't seen it already, I'd really encourage you to watch this video of "cardboard testimonies" as well. I pretty much cry like a baby every time.



I'm not going to say much in conclusion, because I think this all speaks for itself. I just want to end with a bit of one of my favorite songs. It's a song you're all probably familiar with. It's one of those songs that's easy to just pass over without really thinking about because it is so familiar. Today, I encourage you to slow down for just a minute and relish these words:

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now I’m found, was blind, but now I see.

Praise God.


Thank you Kait, Jesse, Kristal, Megan, and Sarah for your courage in sharing and being a part of this!

11 comments:

  1. Wow! Beautiful! I'm tearing up over here. Those simple sentences just get to me.

    Great idea, Mere. I love that you did this today. What a powerful way to remind ourselves how amazing our God is.

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  2. Love this! Thank you everyone for sharing. What a powerful statement.

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  3. We actually did this in our church a while ago and I cried like a baby as each person came forward with their signs. I've been praying about this a lot. I grew up in the church but when I hit my 20s, I just wanted to party and as a result, I made a lot of really bad decisions. Through HIM, I don't need drinking or men, I am healed.l

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  4. Beautiful... thanks so much for doing this and allowing me to be apart of it!

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  5. Awesome! Glad to see my friends Kristal and Megan on your screen!

    I have to think of what my cardboard statement would say?

    I used to think of myself as a victim.

    Now I think of myself as SAVED.

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  6. Molly, your comment just brought me to tears.

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  7. I found your site because I'm friends with Megan and she linked to your site. I've seen this cardboard thing done a few times and seen different videos like the one you posted...but yet again, i'm drawn to tears....God is SO good!

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  8. Love this post, Meredith! Thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of it...it wasn't necessarily easy for me to share that, but I'm so glad I did.

    What an awesome God we serve!

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  9. I love this. Thanks for letting me (us) share Meredith!

    PS. 15 DAYS til we are home ;)

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