Unexpected storms offer fertile soil for insight and breakthrough.
Although we were on Spring Break, we knew snow was a distinct possibility, so waking up to a blanket of white was a welcomed surprise. Boundaries once created with the silhouette of hedges, were now transformed by the layer of fresh snow. The pathway to our casita was obscured by tree branches bent low under the weight of the powder. I stood admiring the beauty of the Spring blizzard [from the warmth of the inside] when an unfamiliar sound interrupted my meditation.
The groundskeeper was busy pushing his snow blower to its limit. He was actively clearing a route so we could leave without hiking through snow drifts. As I watched him move methodically up and down the walkway, I couldn’t help but wonder what he would do about the low-hanging branches. The thought had narrowly escaped my mind when he reached out and struck one of the branches. The branch that once drooped low with the weight of snow returned to its original position by shedding the weight of the powder.
The weighted branch did nothing to change positions separate from the intervention of the groundskeeper.
No amount of wishing and wanting would have been enough to release the branch from the burden of the bent-low posture. Without the groundskeeper, the branch would have obstructed our pathway.
On our own, separate from God, we are burdened by the weight of sin and shame. Like the tree, our posture has been bent low with the exhaustion and burden of trying to be good enough, say the right things, prove our worth, and be good people.
The wisdom of heaven saw our obscured intentions, motives, and postures and executed a plan to restore us. The plan had a name; it was Jesus.
We couldn’t do it on our own, just as the branch could not will itself to be unburdened by the weight it was under. We needed the intervention of someone else, so Jesus assumed the sin we had yet to commit. He willingly died a criminal’s death, was wrapped in grave clothes, and placed in a tomb that could not contain him.
He bent low, so we could stand tall in the hope of his resurrection.
As he assumed the weight of our sin, we received the invitation to live as changed people. We don’t have to lug around the weight of past indiscretions and failures. If we’ve accepted the gift of grace offered by the resurrected Christ, we are free to walk differently.
Are you burdened with the weight of trying to be different or better? Let the image of the empty tomb, death defeated, minister to the place of your exhaustion. What appeared as a great storm to those who were close to Jesus, God was working to provide breakthrough for all of his children.
The storms of life become fertile soil for insight and breakthrough.
Just as the spring blizzard brought a blanket of white that covered the landscape around our casita, so the blood of Christ washes us white as snow. This is a gift we receive as a result of Easter, and it is available to everyone.
While the cross of Christ might feel impossibly cruel, consider the extent of love that would drive someone to endure such lengths for the possibility of relationship with us. If you are searching for freedom or hope, consider the gift of the empty tomb.
Happy Holy Week, friends.