You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. I John 4:4-5 (NIV)
When we arrived at church this morning, Easter lilies banked the entryway. With beautiful bright green leaves and white blooms, their petals formed a raised trumpet. They looked like a massive band proclaiming, “Christ is Risen.” After the service, everyone was encouraged to take a plant home, and on his own, youngest son retrieved one for me. On the way home, he asked me why Easter lilies are symbolic of the holiday. With no access to the computer to discover that the lilies are symbols of hope and purity and that legend says that they sprang forth from the drops of sweat that Christ shed at Gethsemane, I guessed. I told him that the bulb of the lily looks dry and dead. If anyone saw it not knowing what it was, they would most likely drop it into the garbage can. Yet, when it is placed deep within the earth, in the dark soil, it comes alive and springs forth with a beautiful bloom that reminds us of Jesus’ triumph over sin and death. You won’t find that story on Wikipedia, but it makes just as much sense to me, and youngest son bought it. It is true though and also made me think that as Christians, we are also overcomers. We have faith in even the bleakest circumstances that would make others go mad. A wayward young man returns home. A woman’s disease is cured. A child is raised from the dead. A widow finds her lost coin. A lowly fisherman becomes the rock upon which the church is built. A blind man sees. 5,000 eat from one small boy’s meal. The stories are many, but the theme is the same. What was hopeless is simply an opportunity for God to work if only we look to Him and wait on His timing. Such miracles continue in your life and mine today. Wayward children still come home. People are still cured even those close to death. The lost are found. Hungry are fed. And lowly people like you and I dedicate our lives to helping others see Christ in every day life. Contrary to what the world teaches, it is not the power of positive thinking that enables these transformations, however. It is the power of the same Christ who was crucified, raised from the dead and whose spirit lives within us giving us the strength to face the rough times and find joy in its midst. It is Christ within us Who urges us out of bed each morning. Who drives us to clothe the poor and sit with the dying. What is it that you are enduring today? Listen carefully. Not to the world who tells you there is no hope or that the answer lies in your own strength. Christ is calling you. Are you curled up in a ball sunk deep within the sorrow of your night? Or will you be the Easter lily blooming and proclaiming, “Christ is risen!” He is risen indeed.