Have you ever looked forward to something with such excitement and enthusiasm only to be depressed afterward?
I don't know what it is, but I can look forward to something and have the best time ever and then feel like a deflated balloon wondering what's next immediately after.
Post-vacation blues. Post-holiday blues. Post-event blues. You name it.
So, here we are on the heels of Easter, and I have to wonder how many people are feeling a touch of the blues and thinking - "What's next?"
What did all that celebration give us?
For those that are Christ followers, we already have assurances of new life, but I would like to remind you of something more… a little lagniappe that can be found nestled into this fascinating passage of Scripture where we read that Jesus has risen from the dead and appears for the FIRST TIME to his beloved disciples:
“While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence.
He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” ~Luke 24:36-44
Let’s stop for a moment to let this scene really sink in…. the disciplines were horrified after witnessing their leader be gruesomely murdered and were in hiding for fear that they too would be arrested and put to death. They had to be utterly stupefied by the entire ordeal and overwhelmed with immense sorrow and uncertainty. Then Jesus suddenly appears and what is the first thing that He says?
He doesn't say "I'm BAACK," he doesn't say "Don't worry- be happy;" rather,
He says "Peace be with you.”
Peace that can calm all fears, worries, and anxieties.
Peace that settles into your soul and brings you confidences and comfort.
Peace that can calm any pressure and bring immediate relief.
Peace that surpasses all understanding.
Christian writer Henri Nouwen paints an interesting picture of our relationship with God:
“There was an old man who sat on the bank of a river each morning to meditate. One particular morning, the river was flooded, and the old man noticed a poisonous scorpion floating on the water. The scorpion appeared to be struggling to get to safety from the swift current, so the old man stretched out his hand to rescue the scorpion. The scorpion quickly stung the man’s hand. A bit later the old man stretched out his hand again in another desperate attempt to save the scorpion, and once again the scorpion stung him. Now the old man's hand was painfully swollen and bleeding.
Another man passing by saw what was happening and yelled out, "Hey, stupid, what's wrong with you? Only a fool would risk his life for the sake of an ugly, evil creature. Don't you know you could kill yourself trying to save that ungrateful scorpion?"
The old man calmly replied, “My friend, just because it is in the scorpion’s nature to sting, does not change my nature to save.”
I don’t much like the idea that I’m the scorpion, but isn’t this such an accurate picture of God’s nature to save, extending peace and life and our nature to resist?
Like the scorpion, we can be so naïve as to think we don’t need saving!
So, following the celebration of Easter may we joyfully recognize the beautiful gift that Jesus extends and be willing to receive it lovingly- a little lagniappe for a life filled with less pressure and more saving peace.
Thank you, Father, for the gift of new life through Christ and the peace that you offer to us now in this lifetime. May we never recoil from your bountiful blessings. Help us, Lord, to understand our need for you and to settle in your graciousness. Peace is available when we seek your outstretched hand, and we are grateful that your nature is one that rescues and restores.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ~ Philippians 4:7