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Easter Sermon

I ran over a snake today on the road to my home recently. It was a small snake, probably less than two feet long—green with white stripes. I could have avoided the snake but something kind of urged me to run over it to kill it. And so I did.

On the way back down to the camp I drove by the snake again and I saw that it was not quite dead—it was in fact writhing in pain. The tires on my Jeep had crushed the snake but not killed it—it was in agony. My soul was flooded with immediate remorse that I was the cause of such suffering and pain. The snake could never survive with the injury I alone had caused, so all I could do to remedy my carelessness was run over it two more times to be sure it was no longer in misery.

That stupid action bothered me all day long. Why in the world did I harm that snake in the first place. It poised no harm to me and probably keeps the mice population checked. But worse, I realized that I was the source of great suffering for of one of God’s creatures—that little snake felt pain and was truly hurting for no good reason.

If I, mean-spirited and careless as I am, have compassion on a small snake, how much more does God have compassion and pity on people like me—reptilian though I might be at times. And if God has such tenderheartedness as I had today (and I know that He is infinitely more kind and benevolent than I can fathom), I know that He would never send agony and suffering on me, or upon the world, for His entertainment or for no purpose. Unlike me, the suffering He causes or allows has a purpose for good! The hardship and distress we are facing as a nation (and world-wide) is not without purpose or a remedy—there’s a reason and a message.

But, I also wonder how many souls I have caused to suffer because of my indifference, carelessness, lack of thinking/planning, etc. To be sure, I have caused others harm in my life: I take no pride in this and can offer no excuse or explanation. Sometimes I have done the hurtful things simply by ignoring the obvious fact that I was causing injury to someone by not “letting up” or steering my actions a bit more circumspectly.

God’s Word speaks again and again about “being careful”—i.e. thoughtfully thinking before acting or speaking. I need to be careful not only because of God’s little creatures that cross the road, but also because of the precious ones that cross my paths each day at my home, the grocery store, at the stop sign, at the bank teller, on the phone, etc. Being careful is to be “full of care” in the manner I do things.

We’re celebrating the death and resurrection of a man, Jesus, God’s only Son. He was careful and never did one thing wrong; yet He suffered and died and left those that believed in Him devastated, shocked and alone. But He made this incredible promise of coming back from the dead—and to do in only three days. His anguish was not needless and though heart wrenching to those that loved Him, He promised them that it would all make sense one day and to prove it He said that He would rise from the dead.

I had to leave my home a few weeks ago for a two-hour meeting. As always, there was a major emotional meltdown with one of the younger boys. He begged to come with me, cried, pouted, threw a tantrum, screamed, and yelled. You name it … he did it. But I have never, not once, surrendered to his demands. Why does he do this?

Again, I was only gone for a couple of hours, but you would have thought I was being led to a firing squad by the way he behaved. Finally, thirty minutes later, he was exhausted, apologized, hugged me, asked once more if he could go with me, and then asked me if I would promise him that I would come back. That was the issue. Whether I would come back for him. Our children want to know if we will come back.

My sons, have on numerous occasions had their biological, step, or foster parents leave the house and never return. These boys have been fooled many times by adults and social workers that promise to come back once they take them to McDonald’s, or for a ride or to a park, but never do. Being placed in ten foster homes has broken my boys hearts more than once, and they are hoping that it won’t be broken again by me. It’s wrong to let a child down and lie to a child.

My sons now live in anxiety each time I leave the house that something might happen to me and they will be placed in another home. I am praying that God keep me alive thought this Chinese Corona Pandemic until these boys are each able to live on their own and come to know the warmth of His all-encompassing love! But back to the story, when I finally did return home there was great happiness and excitement from the younger ones. But I would dare say that the youngest was waiting, in great anticipation for my return. Such is his love, dependence, and need of me.

Ah, but can you imagine the disciples joy and celebration when Jesus came back to the youth that loved Him just like He promised? What a witness of the joy we should have today! Christ returned from the grave! Oh, the excitement the disciples had when Jesus really DID return after three days in the tomb! These were mere boys—-teenagers. They loved Jesus, and even though they believed in Him far more than my sons love me or believe in me, when He promised that He would return from His death within three days there were unconvinced. Prior to the crucifixion they were “begging” Him not to leave….but now that He had defeated the “unconquerable death” they were overcome with relief and joy.

Think about this: they knew about the beaten, disfigured, grotesque body of Jesus as well as the place of torture….they knew about His execution had seen that lifeless body taken down from the cross. One of them was there and saw it first hand. Jesus was dead, gone….and these young men had seen death before. All was very quiet over the weekend— and they wondered if He would ever see Him again and how He could come back for them as He had promised.

For right now, my little sons look to me as a “surrogate savior”, a poor substitute for the real Savior. I am the one, for the time being, that makes them feel safe, secure, protected, loved, and the one that will always love and look after them. They have come to see my care and presence in their lives as the their source of security, purpose, and love. Soon, I will not be there for them, but if I have been a good father they will come to know the ultimate source of joy, peace and love on a very personal and intimate level—-they will fall in love with Jesus like I have and they will not live in fear….

And as we think about Easter and as we celebrate the risen Christ today, as much as I rejoice in His resurrection and the new life He offers, I must admit that I was the cause of the suffering and pain for Jesus Christ on Golgotha. Were it not for my sins, my choices, my proclivities, as well as yours… and all of mankind’s…. the only perfect man to ever live would not have suffered and died in writhing agony. When I witness any suffering, I am reminded of how I caused Him to suffer.

And so I hope that I can perhaps renew my focus and determination to tell the world that One Man came and saved me from receiving the penalty of my meanness and carelessness…..the Holy Son of God washed away my sins and has created within me a new heart. Because of Jesus I do see things differently…. I can no longer stand by idly while anyone, or anything, needlessly suffers. I have been born again-I see things differently now.

There’s no time for us to ignore those around us or across our borders because of our self-centered habits and thinking…. how many souls we have caused to suffer by our indifference, carelessness, lack of thinking/planning, etc.  In every foster child, beggar, illegal immigrant, heroine addict or mixed up youth we need to see Jesus.

It’s okay stay at home to protect ourselves from the virus, but it’s not okay to keep our eyes only upon ourself and our family during this pandemic. We must pray for,  and respond to, those that are lost,  have compassion on all God’s creatures and as He provides opportunity, and decide to be His hands, His words,  and His heart; we must remember not only those that are our own family—but also that are a part of His family. 

Pray for our President! Pray Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi and for leaders in the Senate and House. Pray for the personal wisdom and courage to turn off and tune out those that feed and pander to our shameless appetites for self-centeredness, pride, ego, vulgarity and Godlessness—-i.e. the professionals in the media, entertainment, athletics and political arena—-this is our chance to put THEM out of business and let God raise up men and women of God who are  in love with Jesus Christ.

He is risen! Enough is enough of what we've been fed by an anti-God media and the Christian bashing elite—let all the world rejoice that He is Lord—and let’s start living, talking and working like He is Lord. Revival is coming—Lord let it begin with you and me!

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