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I was reading a book today by a Christian author in which she shared a brief email she received from one of the leaders in her church. The gist of the email was this:

We in the church need to be careful of how we present Jesus. We often treat Him as a pain pill or a quick fix to life’s troubles. “Just come to Jesus and you’ll find relief and answers.” Unfortunately, many people come to Jesus and when their problems aren’t erased and they discover that quite often the difficult issues they experience seem to magnify, they feel as if they have been sold a false bill of goods.

I’ve heavily paraphrased the email for length purposes but that’s the impetus behind the phrasing. It’s been weighing heavy on my heart today. Quite frankly, I can’t deny some of the truth in the content. I was praying through this earlier and the Lord reminded me of a short testimony that happens to be mine.

Years ago I was part of a ministry that traveled the country performing top 40 music for high school and middle school students. When the opportunity presented itself we would offer an evening concert that was implicitly Christian. Christian music, a testimony, and an old-fashioned altar call. For the first part of tour my altar calls had a very similar promise structure that echos the concern of the previous email. However, within a 24 hour period, my word completely fell apart. Troubles at home, the ending of a long-term relationship, and part of the band felt called to leave. In a word: devastating.

My “altar call” language changed. I couldn’t promise these students that Jesus would make everything easier. It certainly wasn’t easier from my perspective. All I could really say was that Jesus was my rock, my shelter, and the only foundation I could trust. The other marks of stability in my life had crumbled. I felt crushed almost every day. Yet… I discovered an infinite love sustaining me. Second by second some days.

Why Easter? Because Jesus rose and conquered death and the grave so we could come back home. So He could be with us. It wasn’t (and isn’t) a band-aid. It is the embrace and care that only God can give. It is God with us.

If we’re looking to Jesus to instantly make things better we’ll probably be disappointed. But if we’re looking for hope, especially the life to come, that’s something worth pursuing.

How do you see Jesus these days?

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.  John 16:33

Til next time,