After a rainy and gloomy weekend, the morning sun was shining brightly. My husband and I were sitting on his parents’ covered back porch enjoying some of the suns’s rays that were reaching underneath the porch’s tin roof. I didn’t want to move, the sun felt so good. We were watching birds at the bird feeder. For days there had been nothing but a small group of black birds feeding until this morning when a bright red Cardinal showed up. I said something to my husband, and he told me he had seen a female Cardinal and he thought they had a nest in one of his mother’s rose bushes that grows against a fence. We both got up from our seats and headed over for a look. Sure enough, there was a little nest holding eggs. Mama bird had done good. She had found the perfect spot to protect her nest and bring new life into the world. She had placed hope amongst the thorns. It reminded me of this verse from the Book of Matthew, “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to Him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?—Matthew 6:25-27
My what a strange new year this has been for us all so far. As for my husband and I, so many things have happened personally. A dear friend’s shocking death, my father -in-law being diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer, and a brother suffering a heart attack, all just within the first few months of this year. The world as a whole is dealing with a Pandemic that seemed to be far away from our country at first, but now here we are. As I see it, God has allowed this ugly thing to slow the world down. He wants us to give up the world we have been cherishing way too much. He wants us quiet for a while. He wants to open our eyes to what is really important. He wants us back to cherishing Him. God is giving His most precious creation another chance to come to Christ because His Son will be returning soon. A friend posted on Facebook a few words from an old hymn, words that ring so true today…
The Market place is empty
No more traffic in the streets
All the builders’ tools are silent
No more time to harvest wheat
Busy housewives cease their labors
In the courtroom no debate
Work on earth has been suspended
As the King comes through the gate
The King is coming, the King is coming
I just heard the trumpet sounding
And now his face I see
The King is coming, the King is coming
Praise God, He’s coming for me —–lyrics from the hymn ‘The King is Coming’ by Gloria Gaither
We don’t know the date or time that Jesus will return, but God has been patient with us for centuries. He has been patient because He loves us with a love that our own human hearts have no concept of. He is patient because He desires us to be with Him throughout eternity.
This coming Sunday we will celebrate Easter in a different way. Some people will be totally alone in their homes. Some will celebrate as a small family gathering. As for my husband and I, we will be sitting in a car with his parents alongside others in their own cars, listening to their pastor preach in the parking lot of a small town church. Instead of celebrating this time with pomp and circumstance, we will be celebrating in humility. Jesus in humility went to the cross and died for us all. He bore our sins on that cross, the sins of the world. Oh the agony He must have felt. Could you imagine that? This Son of Man who was perfect in every way felt the agony of sin and the agony of being separated from God. It wasn’t just the horrible pain of being hung on a cross, but the pain of this sinful world. Three days after He took His last breath, Jesus triumphantly arose from the grave to live again. The Son of God was sacrificed to give us a choice. The choice of triumph over the horrible pain of sin and to live with Him in His Father’s House for eternity.
On that cross Jesus wore a crown of thorns, a crown symbolizing the curse of sin. Just as the Cardinal eggs in a tiny nest bring the hope new life will begin amongst the thorns, Jesus is our hope for eternal life. Through Him we are born again into a new life because we believe in what He did for us and confess that He is the Son of God, the Messiah. Our Hope amongst the thorns.