My leave of absence was short lived. I am still committed to taking some time off this summer, but how could I let something like Easter go by without sharing my thoughts and those of some of the authors I have been reading? One of the more chilling lyrics in song comes from the popular praise and worship song “Here I Am to Worship”. The lyrics state “I’ll never know how much it cost to see my sin upon that cross”. How true the words? How deep the meaning.

Throughout the past year, I have been challenged far beyond my imagination to grow my faith. Through painful experiences and a poor decision, I have been forced to face the reality that I am a descendent of Adam. No matter how much I may think I can handle this life through my own strength, it takes only a few short moments to rock my world and show me that, when given two choices, I chose the apple. But, what the past year of this life has shown me in many ways is that the story gets better. Genesis 50:20 states “you intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”

Only the foot of the cross and the sacrifice that was made there can deliver us from ourselves, make us new, clean and an example of Christ’s love. Our pastor says “I had a debt I could not pay. He paid a debt he did not owe”. Even in his suffering, Christ told one of the criminals beside him “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). So as you go into the weekend and celebrate Easter Sunday, take time to remember the sacrifice. Remember the darkness that lasted for 3 days. Most of all, remember the fact that He rose again. Our death is defeated! Our sin is erased! Our mistakes are forgiven by a grace that surpasses our greatest understanding.

This does not come without a cost. Max Lucado says “God loves you just the way you are but he refuses to leave you that way. He wants you to be just like Jesus”. It takes about 5 minutes of reading the newspaper, a news internet site or watching the evening news to realize that there is a world that needs to hear about Jesus. Our call is to accept the sacrifice, turn from who we were, the mistakes that we made and become more like Christ. Change our hearts, renew our minds and most of all, be Jesus to a fallen world.

This year, greater than any other, I will approach the foot of the cross on Good Friday with a heart that understands the price that was paid. I will never know the total cost, but one day, I will enter the gates of Heaven and personally thank the one that made it all possible. Surely then, I too will be with Him in Paradise.