I wasn’t going to write a post this weekend. I’ve been wanting to write since last week but haven’t felt both prompted and compelled simultaneously.
My Mother-In-Law died 2 years ago. My Father-In-Law had basically slipped into a major depression over time. I knew what was going on wasn’t a good thing. Neither of my In-Laws (to my knowledge) are or were believers. Of course, I have no idea what might have transpired during the last moments of my MIL’s life.
Over the last two years I have been praying for my FIL (hereafter, known as “Grandpa”). I have often felt like my prayers were going unanswered. I prayed in faith and hoped that my cross-country pleading might make some difference; however remote.
Good Friday has never been an easy day on the calendar for me. This year I felt especially sad. I couldn’t begin to explain it if I tried. It was, for lack of a better description: Holy Grief: True Sorrow.
We have the Passion of The Christ in our home movie collection. Traditionally, I play the movie and reflect on Jesus life and meaning. This year, I just couldn’t do it. I also couldn’t wait for the day to be over
About eight p.m. that same day, the phone rang. It was Grandpa calling to check in with us. Something he rarely does. Grandpa isn’t a phone talker. On this occasion though, something was different and the difference became more obvious as the conversation progressed. I first sensed the change in his voice and just followed it.
For the last 24+ months Grandpa had basically lost his will to live. I’ve known for a long time that the moment he buried my MIL, he’d made up his mind that life wasn’t worth living.
My heart has been broken and my Spirit struggling since. The Doctor’s he has been seeing are very aware of his situation and we’ve all been working to provide encouragement and get him help.
Each night or as often as I could, I would lie down and pray for Grandpa’s soul. Pray that his spirit would experience the Light of God’s Love. That the scales on his eyes would fall off and his heart softened. I am still in the dark about where he is in this process but I’m fairly certain something is UP.
I had prayed that since I couldn’t be closer to help him that God would protect him and keep him safe. I knew the enemy was targeting him. I knew Grandpa was in serious trouble. I think God saw my heart was spiritually bleeding.
Grandpa has, of recently, been befriended by a widow named, Ruth. Ruth is apparently very active in her church. About 3/4 of the way through Friday’s phone conversation I began to recognize there is a woman named Ruth in the bible.
Almost immediately, after I hung up the phone, I started to hear it.
“The prayers of the Saints (righteous) availeth much.” (from James 5:16)
But what was really weird was that I didn’t just hear this scriptural verse once…I heard it nearly the rest of the evening and even today. Over and over and over again. It wasn’t bothersome. In fact, as I continued to hear it I went from a state of shock to disbelief to humble tears.
Grandpa had mentioned before we hung up that at his last appointment that he had likely been only days if not hours from death.
I knew that The Spiritual Warfare the enemy had waged on him had been intense. To be honest, over the course of time, I’ve almost felt like Professor Snape in Harry Potter. During the scene of the Hogwarts tournament he is using his “Powers” to counteract the “Spell” the enemy is using to attack and harm Harry. In a very real sense, have been acting as an intercessor for Grandpa.
It is becoming more and more clear to me how important prayer is, and how and why it works.
Just like Dr’s give us medicine to make us better, we need help to combat the forces of evil. Except there is no earthly premise for fighting darkness. The principalities fight under their own set of rules. Rules that are mostly unknown, unseen and not understood by man. Well, except ONE: Jesus.
And that leads me to the Revelation He gave me about The Cross.
We have The Cross which provides us with the Resurrection. But I’m realizing The Cross has intense symbolic meaning. Symbolism I’m beginning to realize I might never have received without the Holy Spirit.
Crown of Thorns
Everyone talks about the crown of thorns. The crown appears to mock his majesty on earth. However, I don’t think I will ever be able to look at that crown the same way again. Why?
Because it represents our battle AGAINST Spiritual Warfare.
Consider the multitude of ways the enemy attempts us and lure us into sin. Then think about how many thorns were on that crown.
Also think about the fiery “darts” that are thrown at us (mentally) on a daily/hourly basis to take our eyes off Jesus. Those fiery darts are meant to make us bleed – very much like the thorns that penetrated Jesus scalp. Our mind is a battlefield and without Jesus we are ill-equipped to handle the opposition.
The Nails and The Holes
Then there are Jesus hands and the nail holes.
I think about how scripture says that we are not to fear those who can kill us physically, but cannot kill our soul. We are to fear the one who can condemn our soul. (Matthew 10:28)
Jesus outstretched arms are his submission to God’s ultimate plan.
But what really floored me was when he drove his point home (from a prior blog post) that we truly can take nothing with us the moment we decease. Everything we do in this life is measured by those holes that scarred Jesus’ hands. Our life is measured by God like sands through an hour glass. His nail scarred hands are the hour glass and akin to the narrow road.
Few people FIND him and are willing to recognize him as the bridge to eternity. Too consumed with the enemy’s darts of earthly and material wants they wave away eternity for the temporary brilliance of seductive treasure and riches. Except those treasures and riches are temporal. They will rot, wither, deteriorate and fall apart long after we are gone. Our souls either go to hell (if we don’t accept or turn away from God) or Heaven if we accept and repent.
Interesting thought to note: If our earthly treasures can’t go with us to heaven, what would fit through a nail hole in Jesus hand’s? For me, the answer is now obvious: Our soul. Those nail holes create that invisible entrance to heaven. The only way we get to go to heaven is by accepting Jesus redemption on that cross. His arms, which are open wide to heaven, signal total surrender. Those nail holes though…they provide the narrowest pathway possible: to a place of peace. Something we get only from Jesus.
The Feet that Walk the Earth
Finally, the nails in the feet of Jesus.
Though you and I live on a sin-filled earth (the nail in Jesus feet is the enemy, he stalked and accused Jesus, just like he does us) and the his feet attached to that wood are the time we must spend understanding God’s infinite grace while we are living.
We’ve got to persevered and realize that understanding doesn’t come easily but It WILL come. The more we pray and asking God to reveal himself through his scriptures, the greater the likelihood he will.
The pages of The Bible will come to life for YOU. If you truly want God – Immanuel (God with Us) to be part of you…Just ASK.
Thank you. You are Sovereign and Holy. You have given us a reason to keep going. You provided a way for us to move from Sin to Salvation. Though we are entirely unworthy…Thank you for Jesus.
And All God’s Children Prayed: Amen
Happy Easter – It’s Resurrection Sunday!