A Lot Can Happen In Just Three Days

The Son is Always There
Photo by Sherri Woodbridge

It was three days later. Three days after they had laid him behind the stone that everyone said would take at least six men to move, most likely more.

Three days after he had told his closest friends he would be back. Three days after his would-be, so-called followers asked for his blood to pay for crimes he didn’t commit.

Three days. A lot can happen in three days but in this town not much was happening. People were quiet. Afraid. Despairing. Hopeless. In hiding. Unaware.

Quiet for the uproar had subsided. It was believed the cause was now gone. But, a lot can happen in three days no matter how quiet it may seem.

People were afraid. Afraid of what might or never might be. Afraid of being connected. Afraid of being disconnected. But – a lot of connection can be lost but a lot of connection can also be restored in just three days.

People were in despair and void of hope. Despairing over what they had once hoped for because what they had once hoped for now seemed forever gone. But – despair can give birth to hope and hope can give birth to life in just three days.

People feared for their lives, afraid of being put to death for something they once thought would save them. They were unaware of what was happening in those three days.

Three days and the One who gave hope that led to despair had other plans that third day. Plans other than watching three devoted women prepare a body for burial. Three women who were making their way to a tomb that no longer held the One which they sought. Three women who walked quietly. Three women who seemed to have misplaced their hope. Three women who stopped, cheeks wet from fresh fallen tears, to discuss how they were going to move the stone just yards before them. The stone that covered the entrance to the tomb where the body of their beloved laid. The body they had come to prepare for burial.

Fresh tears fell again for though they are ready to prepare the body of the one they love, the three women are unprepared in strength and all their pondering won’t help. They know they cannot move the stone. Still, they step those extra feet, one foot in front of the other, and they approach the tomb.

The stone is not there.

The tomb is open.

As Dr. David Jeremiah said in so many words, have you ever wondered if the stone had not necessarily been opened for the Beloved to walk out of but for us to step into? For us to see that He was not there? For us to see such a miracle for ourselves? The miracle of the empty tomb?

The women listened to the angel who stood waiting at the entrance of the tomb. Three women who had spent their morning walking a quiet, sorrowful journey to do a grievous task. Waiting to give them cause to renew their faith and a reason to dispel their fears.

For three days they had wept. For three days they were lost, alone, and despairing. But then came the third day and instead of finding a body waiting for burial, they found hope anew in an empty tomb. Hope that beckoned them to come, see for themselves that what their Beloved tried to make them understand days, weeks, months earlier – it had now come to pass.

Death could not defeat Him. Hell could not hold Him back. Fear was conquered through faith and despair was laid to waste through death. It was finished.

A lot can happen in just three days.

Where Do Miracles Come From

Monarch Butterfly Photo by Sherri Woodbridge

you want the pain to stop
the emotional pain
caused by the physical
the mental
caused by the emotional

you want to live again
the way you used to

but used-to’s
don’t come too frequently anymore
and you’re left
stuck in the circumstances
you never signed up for
and you try
you try so very hard
to make the best of it
but your best
measures so much lower
than it once did

and you think
there is no God
you are sure
for how could God –
a God full of grace and mercy –
do this to you?
to one you love?
and you don’t understand
and you are confused
perhaps
angry
bitter
grieving
despairing
and you’re lack
of understanding
doesn’t mean
there is no God
or that He is cruel

you hope for a miracle
but where do miracles come from
if there is no god?

do they float out of nothingness
a just become
because we will them to
or do they come from that God
you say doesn’t exist

or does he?

your answer may not come
in the way you are expecting
it may not come
at this very moment
when you are desperate for it to come
it may not come for years
it may not come at all

but still there remains
a real Father
you can run to
fall into
and find rest
and peace
and strength
and if you think about it
isn’t that a miracle itself?

Broken for Good

To trust God in the light is nothing,

but to trust Him in the dark –

that is faith.

Charles Spurgeon

I intervene for those who are hurting.

Those who are surrounded by a darkness
only they are able to see.
A darkness that calls out their name
and then leaves laughing as they come.
Leaves them in despair,
mocking them for believing the truth
that can save them.

I intervene for their well-being.
Their light.
Their life.
And then I see them.
I hear them.
They are the Promises.
Promises of truth when life gets messy
and we get dirty.
Promises made to a broken and hurting world.

I see a vessel.
Shaped much like myself
and cracked.
Like me.
A vessel that must be broken
in order to be used.
To be useful.
Without the brokenness,
the light can’t get in
and the light cannot get out.
Without the brokenness
there is no story
for there is nothing to tell.
Without the brokenness
there is nothing to share.
There is no understanding.
There is no comfort
in tears shared together.
Darkness permeates the vessel,
where storms rage
and the enemy attacks.

Hope seems lost.
But remember –
oh how we must not forget –
the vessel is broken.
and light does get through the cracks.
It comes in
before it goes back out.
It fills the inside
with warmth
and power.
The glory of His light spills out.
The shadows flee.
Hope triumphs.
A prisoner is set free.

Going Back

Softest Pink Photo by Sherri Woodbridge
Softest Pink
Photo by Sherri Woodbridge

One of my favorite places is the rose garden at the company of Harry and David. They used to own Jackson and Perkins until they sold it several years ago. Jackson and Perkins specialized in roses. Harry and David’s rose garden was the ‘test’ garden. Every color, species, and size of rose you can imagine, hang out at Harry and David’s garden.

I’ve made several trips to the garden this year, while living in Oregon. I’ve taken guests there – my granddaughter, my neighbor and more. Most of them have had a similar reaction to mine… breathless. Speechless. In awe.

The colors are magnificent and stunning, surprising in some instances as the flower buds in a deep red, color open up to orange and fades to a yellow. Some have one large stem that dons eight or more blooms – a bouquet in itself.

When I go alone I take my time and enjoy every step. I could spend the day there. There are asters, lilies, peonies and butterfly bushes. Ornamental grasses, fruit trees, lavender and well – I could go on and on – it’s there. The saddest thing to me is that, usually, no one else is ever there. It’s always void of someone to walk it’s path, linger over the fragrances as my little granddaughter loved to do.

In each row, with each step, I find a reason to praise God. With each water drop that twinkles in the sun’s rays, I find a reason to smile. With each honeybee that buzzes from one petal to the next, I almost laugh. I find I can disconnect from the despair I sometimes feel. The tough moments. The trying times. The mundane. I can walk on the thick, lush grass and find one more bloom, one more color, one more surprise to be thankful for.

Eventually it’s time to go home. I have filled up the camera card with pictures of bees, blooms and bunnies. I download the photos onto my computer and relive those moments again. I see God in every picture. I see His beauty, His creativity, His peace, His provision. I see how He cares for me.

I hadn’t been to the rose garden for a while and as I walked the paths today, God refreshed my spirit. Sometimes we get caught up in the day to day despair of life. In the tough stuff that we must deal with. In the tedious, the mundane, monotonous day to day of life. We wonder if there’s anything greater than washing dishes, folding clothes, or taking the garbage out.

And then, we spontaneously take a trip back to a place where once we were met by God and find Him there once again. And once again, so faithful as in the times before, He strengthens and refreshes our spirit. Sometimes going back is a good thing. Sometimes it’s the only way to go forward.

I encourage you today, if you’re tired, weary, worn out and feel defeated, think of that place where you have met God and been renewed. If at all possible – go there and bask in the love and grace of His presence. If it’s not possible to go there, find a quiet place where you can close your eyes and remember the time (or times) you did, dwell on it and He will come to you, right where you are.

Let Him fill you up.

He will.

Count on it.

All You Need

 

 Oh soul,
why do you weep?
why do you want,
when everything you need is right here?
right here in front of you – 
always has been,
always will be.
Oh soul,
why do you despair?
why do you fret 
when everything that can calm you is right here?
right here before you – 
always has been,
always will be.
Oh soul,
why do you fear?
why do you anxiously await what may never be,
when peace awaits you – 
right here,
right now.
I, 
the Lord your God –  
I am all you need.
And I am here, 
before you –
now.