Being born without arms immediately placed my physical appearance in the forefront of people’s first impression of me. That first impression ran a wide range of opinions from people thinking that I was interesting and inspirational all the way to being considered odd and a freak. I lived the first 15 years of my life trying to have people see and affirm the best of my qualities – only to be disappointed when the only thing that people could see was my disability. I was chasing my personal worth through the opinions of others and it was slowly destroying my sense of identity and hope.
Every time another person would stare at me, make fun of me or treat me poorly because of my armlessness – it felt like my sense of personal worth would drop another notch. As I aged into my mid-teens, I was frustrated and depressed. I hated other people because they treated me so poorly. I resented God because He had made me without two arms while it seemed like everyone else was born with them. I hated my own life because I felt broken and unloved.
All of that changed for me as a 15-year-old when a kind student pastor sat down with me and explained God’s love and purpose for me in terms of the gospel. He told me about God’s love for me expressed through His careful design and creation of me. (Psalm 139) He explained to me that even when I resented God, I was reconciled to Him through the death of His Son. Hearing the gospel with boldness and clarity changed my life that day as I confessed and rested in Christ as my Lord, my Savior, my King – my everything.
The gospel of Jesus is the greatest news the world has ever known and in just a couple of days we will remember and celebrate both the death and resurrection of Christ. Good Friday and Easter Sunday represent the perfect picture of God’s love, pursuit and grace He has towards man. This weekend focuses on the greatest hope the world has known or ever will know.
Why is Easter your greatest hope? Here’s three good reasons:
Jesus deals with man’s greatest issue
The greatest issue facing man is not finding happiness or meaning – it is finding righteousness. That is a massive problem for every single one of us because there is not a single one of us who is righteous (Rom 3:10) and every single person on the planet has “sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” (Rom 3:23) With unescapable guilt on the hands of every man and woman, the punishment due to every sinner is death. (Rom 6:23). We have earned ourselves both physical death and eternal separation from a holy God and eternal punishment for our actions. (Matt 25:46)
But Jesus does what we could not. He lives a sinless life to be the perfect sacrifice for the sins of man. As 1 Peter 3:18 says, “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit.” In trusting in Christ as our Savior and Lord we are allowed to enter into a relationship with God by the victory that came in Easter weekend and by the righteousness of Christ that is credited to those who confess Him as Savior and Lord.
My hope rests on a victory that’s already claimed
Given the fact that man is prone to wander and fail, the last person in the world that we need to place our hope in is our own hands. The good news of the gospel is that our hope is not dependent on the grit and goodness of man – it fully rests on the victory that Jesus won on Easter weekend. The defeat of sin and death is complete and God’s adoption of those who trust in the sacrifice of Jesus is rock solid.
“I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” ~ John 10:28-29
My hope rests in the Creator and Sustainer of all things. He upholds all of the created order: planets, stars, suns, moons, man and animals. In Him we live and move and have our being. It is THIS powerful God that has my eternal hope securely placed in His hand by the work of Christ and the gift of faith. I have nothing to fear because I know where my hope and my help comes from.
My everything is found in Him
The world of late has felt the reality of being built on a foundation of shifting sand. In this world we will only know loss and broken in the wake of the Fall of man. The pleasures of this world will leave me unfulfilled and the good of this world will fall apart or be given away in our death. Nothing lasts. Nothing is certain.
“For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” ~ Colossians 3:3-4
For the Christian, our lives our bound up in the person of Christ. He is our love, strength, hope, joy, peace, purpose – our very life. I do not have to fear the shifting sands of my circumstances to determine my personal state of mind. My worth is stable, my Savior is enthroned and my future is sure. I don’t live this life in the flesh to chase the best life I can find in the flesh. My best life will never be this one.
My best life is to come. I wait to see my Savior who was crucified, buried and brought back to life to free me from the chains of this life. That is what I look to and hope in – all because of what my Lord did on Easter.