On this Good Friday, I'm struck by the profound paradoxes embedded in the events of Easter. Jesus was dearly loved by God, yet had to (chose to) endure enormous suffering. How often do we question God's love for us when we go through difficult times? We know that challenging circumstances somehow coexist with, rather than contradict or disprove, His love. And because of the events of Good Friday, we can say with confidence that we "do not grieve as those who have no hope" (1 Thessalonians 4:13) -- and yet we grieve. Death has been swallowed up in victory (1 Corinthians 15:54) -- but not fully, yet.
So on this fourth Friday of the month, when we give to people suggested by readers of this blog, it seems very appropriate to follow up on the idea passed along to me by my friend Joan. She wrote of being inspired by the Jacobs family, whose lives have touched her own family deeply.
They are a family of seven children who lost both of their parents to cancer in 2008. The eldest, Alanna, was to have been in her fourth year of university that year. Instead, she found herself in a dark and difficult place, responsible for her six younger siblings. Oh how our life can change in an instant!
Alanna recently told her story on the Drew Marshall Show. Drew is a long-time friend of mine from summer camp, who hosts a radio talk show on spiritual issues. Follow the link and scroll down to March 19 -- you can listen to Alanna's brave retelling of her story there.
The Jacobs' church has taken responsibility for ensuring that their needs are met -- an inspiring example of the church being the church, in my opinion. I look forward to this week's donation helping with that. Whether they use it for groceries or for a fun night out, I hope that Alanna, her brother Zander, and the rest of their family are encouraged in knowing they are not alone. And that although the events of Good Friday do not take away their pain, their story attests that Jesus' death and resurrection allow that pain to be infused with hope, and a peace that surpasses the understanding of those of us who have not had to walk that agonizing road.
In the midst of darkness, confusion, plastic bunnies, chocolate and pastel eggs, may the reality of the hope of Easter meet you exactly at your point of need and receptivity today.