I remember a story from years ago when some refugees from Vietnam relocated to our area. A middle-aged couple, who spoke no English, had nothing in the house to eat and decided to take the few dollars they had and go to the store. They had to spend their precious little resources wisely but could not read the labels on the packages. They needed something large enough for the both of them and something that would be good to eat.
After much pondering, the couple decided to purchase a large, round can with the picture of delicious-looking fried chicken on it. Pleased that they found something they recognized, they cheerfully took their meal home. Disappointment quickly swept over them as they stared at a white, sticky paste instead of their desired chicken. They had expected the picture on the can to represent what was inside and they did not understand the word across the label; Crisco.
Often people wear the label of Christian and work to give a picture of what they think God wants, but inside there is a sticky mess. “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart,” I Samuel 16:7. You may deceive people but the Lord sees what is inside and knows what to do with it. There is nothing wrong with Crisco if you want Crisco. There is if you need chicken. No matter what your inside looks like, the Lord knows how to create something beautiful. Let Him make you everything He wants you to be.
Do you hide what is going on in your life because it is not a pretty picture? How do you give it to God and trust Him to make it good?
When I was a child, Easter was represented by a new outfit, including a fancy dress, shoes and hat. My sisters and I would get dressed up and pose for pictures out in our yard. The sun was usually shinning, though the air still brisk. After the dutiful snapshots, we would run around the yard looking for the colorful eggs we had died the night before.
Today, Easter has a deeper meaning. Instead of sitting in church in pretty new clothes, I see myself kneeling and broken at the foot of the cross. My heart aches to remember the cruelty heaped on Jesus that day. My heart rejoices at the love He displayed. In excruciating pain, He looked at those who mutilated His body and said, “Forgive them.” Imagine, if He could forgive them, He can forgive us.
Easter is about forgiveness, a clean slate and a blessed future. My vision of Easter enhances the traditional image of new birth and hope. Because Jesus died and rose again, we have a fresh start. We can choose to be a forgiven Child of God and leave the lies of the World behind. That’s why I see Easter in bright colors; crisp and fresh with excitement.
I know I am forgiven no matter what I look like but I still like to dress up for Easter services. After all, God gave His best.
What traditions do you value at Easter? Are there any traditions you had as a child that you see differently today?
Following a cold winter, the spring sun has greeted me with warmth and hope. Its rays have helped me see that change can be a good thing. Last year’s leaves are black with decay. Their dying has allowed the new life which appears in radiant colored blooms around my yard. The old is gone and fresh promises sprout encouragement.
I find an even greater hope available in God’s Son. His light gives vision and clarity to my spiritual life. He has shown me issues in my past that need to fade away or they may impact the strength of my future.
Years of experience shape the person we have become but some things may need to be removed completely in order for us to grow to our potential. We can look to Jesus to shine His light on those things and then ask Him to help us pry our fingers from the negative that we drag along with us. Like the flowers in my garden, we will grow and flourish only when we turn our face to the Son.
Do you have issues from your past that you hold on to, allowing their decaying slime to detract from your beauty? Are you ready to trust God and let go of them?