Stop & Listen

Stop & Listen

Many of my fondest memories of Easter involve coloring eggs with my mom and sister and then having to hunt for them after my dad, the “Stanley Family Easter Bunny” had hidden them with military recision. I am not saying my dad’s methods of hiding eggs was difficult, but let’s just say that his favorite phrase was, “I promise the eggs are visible from some angle”. It was always vital to get an accurate count of eggs, lest you find one due to unpleasant odor as the weather changed.

As you can imagine, the degree of difficulty to our egg hunt increased as we grew making each year a fun challenge. After diligent effort my sister and I would begin to ask our dad for some help in discovering his very well hidden eggs. At this point we knew that a round of “hot and cold” was soon to commence. If you are unfamiliar, this bizarre practice requires that children respond to dad’s verbal cues of “warm…warmer…burning hot…NO!…colder…ice cold…” as you wander around the room.  In essence you feel like you’re on remote control, directed by dad’s voice in what seems like circles. Then, all at once, you begin to see the eggs. Suddenly, you discover those egg you’d passed by three or four times before. With dad’s help and guidance you can find the egg and the wonderful prize inside. In my world, that was often a quarter or a foil-wrapped candy coin. The prize was there all along, perhaps not sitting out in the open but it was “visible from some angle”. The one who prepared the eggs knew exactly where to guide me.

That’s often how I feel in my walk with the Lord. I am running in circles, so frantic with my own life and my own worries that I miss what He has placed right in front of me. It’s not hidden and it’s not a game with Him. The difficulties and pain we experience are often far worse than one smelly Easter Egg found under the couch in May. But the real problem isn’t the pain of the big things in life nor the distractions all the little things cause me.

The real problem is that I am not stopping to listen for His voice. The real problem is that I allow those things to swallow up my heart and move my focus from the Lord. I never take time to follow where He leads or see things from His perspective. That’s the value of Lent, when we pause and reflect on Christ’s journey to the cross. It is a time when we recognize that Jesus came and experienced it all from our perspective. Christ came and lived with us, even thought He already knew everything about us being one with the Father and Spirit.

Christ came to know us and to love us, that we would understand the depth of God’s mercy and grace. Easter is the culmination of the Christian calendar because it is the evidence of God’s plan of  redemption. God has made a way that I know Him intimately through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. That single selfless act of grace provides the means for me to listen and be led by the Lord in my daily life.

Easter is the key that unlocked my life and yours to the whispers of God’s Spirit. As God says to us, “Don’t give up today, because I am with you”. Where we are led to mercy after mercy in God’s time, resting in God’s presence. Our Father speaks to us and as the old song In The Garden  says, “He walks with me and He talks with me and He tells me I am His own” . That is the essence of what we celebrate at the Cross this Easter.

My prayer this Easter is that you will listen and be moved by the Spirit of God in your life. That you will pause and hear Him guiding you into “new mercies every morning” (Lam. 3:22-23) and see the blessings He has tucked along the journey in your life. Take a Lenten Devotional and seek Him this week. You’ll find you’re not lost nor on remote control. Instead, you’ll experience a freedom and hope you’ve never known. Join us for worship during Holy Week: the Palm Sunday Cantata; our Tenebrae Maundy Thursday at 7 PM; Sunrise Worship and worship Easter Sunday. See you there!

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