This time of year the world turns it's eyes toward Easter as the new spring season approaches. Some for the proverbial Easter bunny, some for the warm weather, but most for the events that happened on Calvary. That was where the hope of a new chapter of life came from, and as the weather changes, let's hope our hearts can as well.
It was painful beyond the words of scripture to watch, for that I am sure, but as we look back we can truly say that the pain endured to bring salvation was worth it to God. He loves us so much that he would go to any means without sinning to bring us back to him. The addicts, the thieves, the adulterers, the religious perfectionists, the add your own category folks, all had to have their hearts broken to come to the reality that only by pain can we experience lasting gain.
Happiness, joy, all of those warm and fuzzy feelings only last while things are going well for most people. True, the memories bring us solace in difficult times, but that pain, that pain is a constant reminder of how far we were gone and how far we have come. It teaches us to endure, to persevere through the worst of times, and provides us with a platform to speak on to others, that there is Gain In The Pain!
Jesus planted a seed in the world that, unfortunately for most of us, only grows when experiencing pain. Yes, there are some who do not need to hit rock bottom to grow, but in reality, in this world we live in, many prefer to have faith in mother earth and that bunny. That is, until we experience tragedy and extreme pain.
God knew that, that is why the excruciating events on Calvary, chronicled vividly in Hollywood's productions hit home with us as we are forced to see in re-creation, pain at its highest peak. I remember watching The Passion Of Christ with our church family and how the audience, including me, were in tears thinking of the cost paid for our salvation. It was beyond painful to watch.
But then, there was was that stone pushed aside, those public appearances by Jesus when he came back to life, the words of forgiveness and redemption that he continued to utter, and I realize, whenever I experience my own pain, it is a pathway to true freedom in life.
As they say, no pain, no gain!
Glenn is an ex-Marine Viet Nam vet who is also a recovering alcoholic, clean and sober for 30 years. He has been involved in start up and ongoing recovery ministry at North Atlanta Church and Campus for the last two decades. He has a passion for outreach and to spread the message that the answer to lasting and fulfilling recovery from addiction is in a relationship with Jesus Christ. He and the ATB team are available to assist in your questions or needs on an individual basis and will do so maintaining complete confidentiality. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.