Is this a Good Friday for you?

cross in dish by EZ
cross in dish by EZ

Isaiah 53:1-6 The Message

Who believes what we’ve heard and seen?
Who would have thought God’s saving power would look like this?

The servant grew up before God—a scrawny seedling,
a scrubby plant in a parched field.
There was nothing attractive about him,
nothing to cause us to take a second look.
He was looked down on and passed over,
a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand.
One look at him and people turned away.
We looked down on him, thought he was scum.

But the fact is, it was our pains he carried—
our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us.

We thought he brought it on himself,
that God was punishing him for his own failures.

But it was our sins that did that to him,
that ripped and tore and crushed him—our sins!

He took the punishment, and that made us whole.

Through his bruises we get healed.

We’re all like sheep who’ve wandered off and gotten lost.

We’ve all done our own thing, gone our own way.

And God has piled all our sins, everything we’ve done wrong,on him, on him.

crosses in dish by EZ
crosses in dish by EZ

Choose life

For years I had the same dream, increasing in intensity as the years went by.

I’m walking towards a small lake on a beautiful sunny day. The shore is lined with bright green grass and colorful flowers, the water flat and tranquil. I step onto a dock, which turns into a wooden bridge across the lake. I feel compelled to go forward. But when I near the middle of the lake, the wind abruptly builds, gusting against me. Heavy clouds rush to block the sun, turning the day to twilight. The once tranquil water is churning and dark, white caps on building waves. I want to turn back, but feel pushed on. As the storm howls around me, I realize the center section of the bridge is out, broken and falling into the water. I know that very soon, I’ll fall into the dark water and die.

I’d wake up with my heart pounding, and a terrible sense of dread that would hang over me the next day.

When I turned twenty-five, I had two wonderful daughters and a house in the nice part of town. I’d done all the things that were supposed to bring the Great American Dream, but I was slowly dying inside. Whenever I wasn’t with the girls, I was crying.

One day, after dropping the girls at school, I stopped the car, leaned on the steering wheel and cried, “Oh God, I can’t go on. I can’t do this anymore.”

Suddenly, though I was fully awake, the lake dream started, again.

As the waves began to break over the bridge, I shrunk in terror. Just at the point when I expected to die and usually woke up, since I was awake, this time I knew I really would die.

Then I heard a voice, calling to me across the water. I looked up and saw Jesus. (I don’t know how I knew it was him. I just knew.)

Standing on the far shore, he called my name and offered me his hand. When I ignored the waves and looked into his eyes, I felt called by his love and reached out in return. As I did, I was instantly on the far shore, surrounded by his love, with a peaceful lake behind me, green grass and bright flowers around me, the sun shining and birds singing. Most of all, I knew I was safe. And I knew I was loved.

I never had that dream again.

That moment was another step in the long journey toward wholeness and healing. When I responded and reached for his hand, I choose life.

…I place before you Life and Death, Blessing and Curse. Choose life so that you and your children will live. And love God, your God, listening obediently to him, firmly embracing him. Oh yes, he is life itself …   Deut 30:19-20  The Message

What choice have you made?