Sunday, March 24, 2013

Live Today....

Photo Credit

When you get the news that you have cancer and they tell you there is no time to waste... it's time to start living like there is no tomorrow.

That's how it was for me.

My one wild heart skipped a few beats at the news. 

But sometimes the words that take your breath away, actually breath life into your very soul.

It was three years ago the words from the doctors lips tore flesh holes in my heart.
When the word rolled out that most people fear so deeply they only call it... "the "C" word."

My friend was currently walking through a valley of the shadow of death.
So mostly I already knew that cancer kills slow,  with a thousand little deaths before the final blows. 

The cold rain like liquid shards of ice, laced together with my salty tears tumbled onto the pavement.

If this was a pop quiz I was sure I'd fail. I knew all too well how fragile life is.

How vapor-like breath in lungs can be.

My two younger brothers already lay in the cold dirt, in the very plots my parents had purchased for their own final resting place.  

Before that I had buried good friends, big dreams, my first love and this time.......
Well this time it could be me. 

God's grace drips like rain even through tears of pain.

As I sobbed in the darkened corner of my office, --that inconsolable-ugly-cry, filling a trash can with soppy tissues, I settled the issue with the Lord that I serve. 

These words I spoke out loud through heaving dehydrated sobs
   "...whatever You have for me Lord...."

"I release my life to You." 

The crazy thing is... I was no longer afraid.

The hardest part was settled and I set out to do what needed done.

On my wall hangs an old picture of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.

The portrait of pain hangs in the basement hallway were few people go. The artist tried to capture a single frame still shot of a turning point moment in Jesus time on earth.

Dr. Luke records in chapter 22:44  "....his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground."

Jesus knew he was about to be betrayed with a kiss by one of his closest companions. Some of his friends were sleeping near Him when they need to be awake and praying.  Jesus knew the torture and unfair treatment that lay ahead.

No doubt the tone and intensity of Jesus' ministry was running high this whole last week of his life on earth. 

Just a few days before this, the Bible says he borrowed a donkey and rode into the city with people cheering Him on and laying their coats and palm branches on the path before Him.  He had cursed the fig tree that looked alive, but bore no fruit, quoted scripture to the religious people who kept people in bondage, made blind people see and lame people walk. He threw the money changers out of the temple {again} and reminded them {again} that His Fathers House was to be a house of prayer not a place for personal gain.

Jesus had been careening like a flaming meteorite to this climax of emotions and events. This picture tries to capture the private battle that is waged before his blood is spilled.

Indeed from the time that his mother asked him to turn water into wine and he reminded her  "his hour had not yet come"  - and just  a few days before when the woman "......who lived a sinful life..." broke open her alabaster jar and pour the expensive perfume over his head and washed his feet with her tears..." the suspense was building.

But I wonder ...if when Jesus rose to his feet from this moment, he was no longer so afraid, but had set his face and his heart toward the final steps to the cross.

He had chosen.

This is the part I've had a hard time grasping all these years: 

Jesus wasn't killed because bad people did bad things to Him. {Though they did.}

He wasn't just an innocent victim of circumstances. {Though He was.}

Jesus was born for this moment.

He knew the price and still He freely chose to walk to the cross.

He chose to die a horrible death on a cross.

Men lied about Him and spit on Him, they broke their own laws to try Him in a makeshift court of law, they nailed him to a cross, they slashed his side with a sword to be sure he was dead, sealed him in a tomb, and set guards over his body.

They thought they won the battle.

Jesus knew they might win this battle, but that He had won the war.

He had won the war on sin.

This unstoppable, unquenchable resolve that took Jesus down the dusty bloody path to redeem people. Even the very people that killed him. 

He didn't have to do this.

He wanted to do this.

That is why I am a Christ-lover.

But for too long I thought I served an angry God who was waiting to snuff me out.

I believed that to serve Him, was about being a rule keeper. Which is laughable  --but I tried. 

What a wonder-struck moment it was when I understood that I serve a Servant-King-God that loves so freely.

That loves without reserve or limit.

And He put this love on display by chasing after each of us, all the way to the cross. 

The Lord used my cancer wake up call to fix my gaze on Him and stop living in complacency.

The cancer test came before the live-life-today testimony.

My friends, Easter is not about rabbits or egg-hunts. 
Its not about filling baskets or wearing bonnets.

It is a free-grace-gift that was purchased at a high stakes price by a wholly-holy God.  

He did the hard part.
We get the easy part.

The only thing left to do is accept His gift. 
It is free to all who just want to settle the issue of where you stand with Jesus.

What if we all lived today, as if there is no tomorrow? 

He Is Risen Printable

Thank you for hearing my heart friends.

May you see the heart of the Father and His love for you.

Linking Up Today....

Counting 1000 Gifts

# 896 Old slippers that form to my feet
# 897 Fresh oranges that feel good on my sore throat
#898  Nebraska water
#899  Two baptisms yesterday. Both teenagers. Love.
#900  Sheets from the dryer.
#901  Bed early

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© Rhonda Quaney