Flowers in small window boxes, beautifully-detailed carpentry on houses, brick-lined driveways … many fine points of our surroundings go unnoticed, even in places we drive by ninety-nine times each week.  One of the many things I love about running is the fresh perspective it gives – one I don’t get from my car.  On my frequently-traveled car routes, I get used to the usual sights and rarely look for anything new beyond the obvious.  I’m missing interesting features – some that have been there for eons and others that are fresh additions.  Don’t try to take it all in while driving and blame me for farming your neighbor’s yard, but next time you’re on a walk or a run, look beyond the usual, expected sights for something new.

When Jesus had received the vinegar, he said, “It is finished”; and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.  John 19:30 (emphasis added)

 Death, emptiness, bitterness, unhappiness, and discontent … without God’s sacrifice of His only Son, such horrific darkness would be our destiny.  Our sinful nature shadows the brilliance of God’s image in which we are made.  But, we have everything we need to overcome the shadows, not by our own doing, but by God’s.  The victory is perfectly complete … totally, utterly finished.  On the cross, Jesus emptied His spirit for us and overcame darkness on our behalf, not because we asked for it or deserve it, but because God’s love for us is so immense.  Because our Savior conquered the enemy and rose from death, a way out of the darkness has been set in stone.  To find our way, we must acknowledge our sinful nature, our need to be saved, and our need to be renewed.  When we do, God will forgive our transgressions and our usual routines will not be the same.  We will notice things we didn’t before and see things in a new light … humility will shrink pride, courage will conquer fear, forgiveness will wash away bitterness and hurt, compassion will melt cold hearts, empathy will soften intolerance, patience will quiet frustration, wisdom will educate ignorance, gratitude and charity will replace greed and want, hope will silence despair, and love will defeat anything else thrown our way.  Our sinful nature and the enemy’s temptations will challenge us daily, and our confession and renewal will be ongoing.  But, when we’re fully on the path Jesus forged for us, the view is going to be more magnificent and extraordinary than that of any other, and we don’t want to miss any of it.

I wish you and your family many blessings this Easter and beyond.

Dear God, thank you for sacrificing Your Son so we may be made new.