As I write this, I’m wrapped up in a scarf and fleece jacket. It snowed yesterday. More snow is expected in about an hour. Yes, it’s Spring. But Easter comes early this year and where I live, that means chilly weather. Still, there are signs of new life. The grass is greening up. There are buds on what I call the Bushy Bush (because I don’t know what type of bush it is) out front that sprouts adorable, dainty pink flowers every Spring. The blackberry bush is also budding, which I noticed when Puppy started chewing on it. My irises are also coming up.
I am fortunate to live in an area with four seasons. Summer is dramatically different than Fall. Fall is dramatically different than Winter. And Winter is dramatically different than Spring. And then the cycle starts all over again. While I don’t enjoy the harshness of winter, I’ve noticed the realities of freezing temperatures and a constant view of depressing horizons of brown and gray for months on end tends to spur me on to the good work of appreciating the beauty, newness, and promises of Spring.
Spring, I believe, is a picture of the Resurrection. I am not an expert in horticulture. Not by a long shot. My thumb is not green. In fact, if I touch a plant, it’s likely to die. So I typically throw some water and perhaps some fertilizer from afar on whatever I’m trying to grow and pray real hard. It works surprisingly well – sometimes. But my point is that if you don’t have a green thumb either, and you don’t live in an area that has distinct four seasons, you can probably still relate to the idea of Spring being a picture of the Resurrection. Perhaps you’ve grown an avocado tree from an avocado seed (that’s a thing, right?). Or you have house plants. Nature envelops all of us in one way or another, and nature is one of the ways God reveals Himself – if we are open to such revelation.
My favorite and perhaps the most obvious way nature provides a picture of the Resurrection is the metamorphosis of the butterfly. In layman terms, a caterpillar decides one day to stop eating and instead hangs upside down from a twig and spins itself a silky cocoon or molts into a shiny chrysalis. Then, within its protective casing, the caterpillar radically transforms its body, eventually morphing into and emerging as a butterfly.
Clearly, Jesus did not decide to stop eating and hang upside down on a twig. But He did decide to willingly give up His life and hang upright on two very large “twigs” known as a Cross. And you know the rest of the story. After willingly giving up His life, on the third day, He victoriously rose from the grave and conquered death. Because He was wrapped in linen before He was buried, when He walked out of the tomb, He likely looked as though He had been in a cocoon.
How did Christ do it? Nobody really knows.
How will our own bodies be resurrected after our death? Nobody really knows.
How does the caterpillar do it? Nobody really knows.
Here’s what I do know:
All three resurrections – the butterfly’s, Christ’s, and my own – can only be accomplished by the power of God. Ask any scientist how a caterpillar morphs into a butterfly, and he will be able to tell you the basic process, just as Google did for me. But much of the process of metamorphosis remains a mystery.
Much of Christ and His ways also remains a mystery. The Bible refers to marriage as being a picture of Christ and the church, but goes on to say it is a mystery. This begs the question:
If God wants us to know Him, why does He allow so much mystery?
Because He wants us to have faith. For faith, the writer of Hebrews says, is what pleases Him. Truth is, He’s given us enough information to trust that He came, He died, He rose – and much more. It is up to us as to whether we suppress or accept those truths. Not only has He revealed Himself to us in His Word, the Bible. But He has also revealed Himself to us through nature, other believers, and the Holy Spirit.
We have the (amazing!) option to one day be resurrected, just as Christ was.
For the Lord Himself shall descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first, Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. ~I Thess. 4:16-17
The Apostle Paul is talking to believers in I Thessalonians. So “those who are alive” when the Lord returns are not simply those with a heartbeat. They’re those with a heartbeat who have trusted in Christ’s death and Resurrection, and have repented of their sins. The question is, who do you want to be in the Second Coming of Jesus?
The dead believer, the alive believer, or the unbeliever?
This Easter, my hope is that each reader chooses to be a believer. R. C. Sproul says in his song The Secret Place …
A thousand fall now at every side;
Ten thousand more may have yet to die.
Clearly, we are still in that time where ten thousand more may have yet to die. But that time period is going to end. When it does, we may be one of the ten thousand (or however many!) who have yet to die, standing with hearts ticking when Jesus decides to return. But we will either be a friend of God, or an enemy of God. And for me, one look at Sodom and Gomorrah, or Lot’s wife who turned into a pillar of salt for her disobedience, makes it a pretty easy choice. Disobeying a God powerful enough to Resurrect Himself, His people, and butterflies and who is able to destroy an entire city or person with a thought or voice command for their disobedience doesn’t seem very copacetic. If I may be so bold … it is in fact rather foolish.
I don’t wish to put a damper on things this blessed Easter. Everybody loves to hear the story of God’s love for us, and that He died and rose again that we might have eternal life. Nobody relishes in hearing the flip side, that God is, in addition to love, just, holy, and intent on sending unbelievers to Hell.
If you are in that lot, that group of folks who reject Christ, I would beg of you to regularly observe nature – particularly Spring. Read the Bible, even if it makes you nauseous. Talk to other Christians to find out why they chose to believe. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you the truth.
You will seek me, and find me, when you seek me with all your heart, says the Lord in Jeremiah 29:13.
If you call on Him, He will answer. If you go on to put your trust in Him for the remission of sins, you will never be the same. And if you do decide to trust, and if the Lord tarries and you and I lay side by side in our graves, just think — we will rise together when He calls our names.
I wouldn’t relish being neighbors in a graveyard. That’s kinda yucky to think about, and thankfully, our spirits will be in Heaven with the Lord after we die. But I would love to be your sister in Christ on the day the Lord decides to come back. Can’t you see it? You and me, though we probably never met in person … our bodies rising up out of our coffins to somehow be reunited with our spirits while I, in all my competitiveness, belt out …
Last one to Heaven is a rotten Easter egg!
Seriously though. I don’t write this stuff because I’m bored and have nothing else to do. I write this stuff because God burdens my heart for readers who don’t know Him. We may never meet in person, but that won’t mean I’ve never “talked” to you. So whoever you are, I’m simply having a one-sided chat, inviting you to spend eternity with me and more importantly, Jesus. Your decision to follow Christ will amount to much sacrificial living, but it’s worth it, both here, now – and there, then.
Whatever your decision, I wish you a blessed, happy Easter with friends, family, and that Pinterest bunny cake you undoubtedly nailed.
Until next week (provided the Lord tarries) …. toodle-oo.