Today is Palm Sunday. While I was raised Catholic, the knowledge of God hadn’t made the trip from my head to my heart until well into the fourth decade of my life. It wasn’t until I had an encounter with the living God that the trip was complete. My life has never been the same. I have never been the same. My relationship with God until that point was predicated upon a head knowledge of Him. I ‘knew’ he loved me. But, I wasn’t altogether certain that he liked me. I couldn’t see Him clearly, and even in hindsight, I can’t objectively speak to how hard I was actually looking. I understand now that circumstances made it difficult to see Him, trust Him or care much beyond Sunday formalities about either. But, when I least expected it, most needed it, it changed in an instant. He unmistakably spoke … and there was nowhere to hide. I resolutely and controversially changed paths and encountered reformed Christianity.* It was there that I became a spectator to the joy of a relationship with and in the Lord.
At first, it seemed that I had found myself surrounded by ‘jack-o-lantern lit from the inside Christians’ who appeared to be ‘happy clappy hand puppets’ … until I realized one day in a moment of spiritual clarity that they weren’t the ones with the problem. Their joy in and love of the Lord weren’t the problem … my inability to understand and accept them was. I realized that their ‘perma-smiles’ weren’t insincere … my agitation over and skepticism of them was, and in that moment, it became clear to me that I had a serious ‘heart problem’. I mention it because I see a lot of agitation over hope and optimism today and understand where it leads. I find myself in the unique position to see it from both sides. You know, being somewhere in between … caught in the struggle between asleep and awake.
So, my secular friends and seekers … believe your eyes. There is a peace and joy that surpasses your understanding. But, take heart. By the grace and blood of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ, it’s within your reach and it’s worth having. I hope and pray that someday, you, too will find yourselves inexplicably so filled with joy that you’re raising holy hands and praising His name because you can’t contain it. Know that it doesn’t happen in an instant. But, it will happen if you let Him in. By His grace … one day you’ll find that others rejoicing in Him won’t look false … or contrived … or ridiculous. It will seem irresistibly natural, and in that moment you’ll praise Him because you’ll realize that you may not be where you should be. You may not even be where you want to be. But, you’ll praise Him … because you’re not where you used to be.
Confused? I hope and pray that one day soon that you will know what I’m talking about … and that you will take that first step this Easter season. I know that the Churches are closed or online and that it would be easy to pass. But, take this unique time to encounter Him … one on one. Understand, He turns mourning into dancing. He gives beauty for ashes. He turns shame into glory. He turns graves into gardens. He’s the only one who can. On this Palm Sunday, let Him ride into your life victorious … the same way he entered Jerusalem on this day so very long ago. If you do, know that the best is yet to come. I promise. But, more importantly, He promises.
Know that Jesus loves you and so do I. _____ *Non-denominational Evangelical Christianity