The Three Crosses

Posted: January 12, 2015 in Inspirational

Nearly every day I drive by three enormous crosses beside Interstate 75. As I pass by, I often thank God for the message that each of the three crosses speaks to me.

I am thankful for the middle cross for a thousand different reasons: it reminds me of a Father’s relentless love which refused to accept separation from His children. It speaks of the high price that was paid by my Older Brother to redeem me – of the unthinkable pain and humiliation that He not only faced, but embraced as the means of purchasing my freedom. It also causes me to rejoice in the fact that it wasn’t the final destination of my Savior; that the grave was opened, death defeated, and eternal life provided by the horrific torture of that cross. It reminds me that there is no obstacle I will ever face that can’t be defeated; no pain I will ever feel that Jesus won’t understand; and no length to which He won’t go to rescue me… again and again.

I am also thankful for the second cross, for it tells the story of repentance and forgiveness. It tells me that no sinner’s past is too bad, and that no lack of good deeds on anyone’s resume will exclude him from being forgiven. It shouts the message that as long as there is one breath left in your body, one beat left in your heart… even if the very last thought you ever hold in your mind is a prayer of repentance, Jesus will hear it and honor it. The second cross declares that it is never too late!

Finally, I am strangely appreciative of the third cross, as well. While it tells a story of bad choices and a hard heart, it reminds me that God gives us the freedom to choose… even to choose to fail. God knows that compulsory love isn’t love, at all, and forced obedience is actually slavery. One can only truly love if he is given the option of not loving; and our obedience is a gift we can give to our Savior only because we can choose not to give it. So, while I wish that everyone would make the choice of the repentant thief, it is the right to choose that makes our worship pleasing to the Lord and our obedience a way to express our gratitude.

“looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb. 12:2)

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Maybe today

Posted: January 8, 2015 in Inspirational

Maybe today, I will do something great

Maybe today, I will write something that changes the way someone thinks… and lives

Maybe on this day, I will speak an encouraging word that lifts the spirits of someone who is carrying the weight of the world

Maybe, before I sleep tonight, I will invent something that makes life easier for those all around me, or create a melody that energizes a generation

Perhaps today, I will identify an opportunity I have been missing or give away something someone has been needing

Maybe today, I will start a habit that redefines who I am, or what I believe

Maybe today will see the answer to the prayer I’ve been praying, release from the burden I’ve been carrying, or a solution to the problem I’ve been facing.

Maybe today, I will find it in my heart to finally forgive… and forget

Maybe this will be the day I meet a person with whom I can share my heart, hopes, and fears

Maybe today, I will find the courage to take that big leap… or the next small, systematic step

Today, the door to opportunity may swing wide open, or the door to failure and heartache might close… and lock!

Maybe today, I will recognize God’s still, small whisper in the noisy traffic of life

Maybe the clouds will clear, the fog will lift, the silence will break…

Maybe today will be the day that changes everything!

“I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.” (Phil. 4:13)

When Boomer passed away a few months ago, I wrote a final blog about him. However, I recently realized there was one other post that I have never published. There is a new guy name Mozzie who will be moving in with us in a couple of weeks, but I wanted to share this one last blog in the series “The World of the Weiner” before that new chapter begins.

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I’m not sure when it happened. I’m not really sure how it happened, but my puppy has become an older dog. How can I tell? Boomer’s hair on his face has turned white. He has begun to like shorter walks and get short of breath, occasionally. He has started going to bed earlier, too; and finally, he gets cramps sometimes. The first one he got scared me. He was sitting with me and started yelping and having a hard time standing up. I was afraid he had hurt his back or was having some kind of major physical attack (well, if you’ve ever had a cramp, you might argue that it is a major physical attack). I set him down on the ground and he walked it off. Now, I have gotten used to them, and I have also realized that he needs a little more special care. Boomer is nearly ten years old now, and according to people who know about such things, that is equal to being seventy years old for you or me. While there is very little in the world that is more lovable than a puppy and anyone looking to adopt a dog would choose a puppy over an older dog, I wouldn’t trade. Neither would God.

What do I mean? Well, I am getting older, too. The hair on my face is white, I like my walks a little shorter, and yes, I do occasionally get cramps (still working on the whole going to bed earlier thing… some habits die hard). It would be easy for me to feel like God would prefer someone younger, cuter, faster, and with more stamina… to feel like God must love the puppies more than an old dog like me. Yes, to an impartial observer, a puppy would be way more desirable than Boomer. Here’s the rub: I’m not an impartial observer, I’m Boomer’s master, and I’ve known him for just about his entire life. We’ve spent the last decade adjusting to each other… becoming more comfortable with each other. For example, for the first several years we had Boomer, he would never fall asleep when he was with us. Whether we were in the car on a long drive or sitting on the couch, he would fight off sleep, doggedly (pun intended) refusing to take his eyes off of us, even as his head grew heavier and heavier. It seemed that he was afraid that if he took his eyes off of us, we might be gone when he woke up. Now, he will snooze while he sits with us. In fact, on most nights, he’ll go put himself in bed before I go to bed. He is no longer insecure; he knows we will be there in the morning. He also used to refuse to eat when we took him to new places on vacation. He just wasn’t comfortable in unfamiliar surroundings. Now, he is fine, as long as we are with him. His sleep patterns match ours and he actually has begun to like for me to bring his food dish out of his room and into the room with us so that he can eat with us. Sure, he’s spoiled; but we spoiled him, so he is spoiled to our schedules and preferences. He barks at the mailman every day. All the houses on our street have the same type of mailbox and our houses are close together, yet he doesn’t bark when the mailman shuts the doors on either of our next-door neighbors’ mailboxes… just ours. They all sound pretty much alike to me, but he knows which house is ours and therefore, his responsibility to guard from that treacherous mailman. I guess the best way to sum it up is that we are really comfortable with each other… like a broken-in couch or pair of jeans. A new puppy would have to be house-trained, potty-trained, broken of chewing, made to learn to sleep all night, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Boomer trusts his master in a way a new puppy would never, could never do. The new guy just wouldn’t have known me long enough or know me well enough. Boomer also knows our desires and the house rules in a way that only time together can produce.

That’s the way it is with God and us. As we get older, He doesn’t wistfully stare in the pet store window at the new puppies, wishing for a newer model. He treasures our time together. He appreciates every passing year. He is more comfortable trusting us with important tasks and leaving us in charge of His house and His stuff (mailmen, beware!). Just as importantly, we are comfortable with Him. We are secure in His presence, not straining to keep our eyes open because we are afraid He’ll be gone when we wake up – or slip up. We trust Him to come through in our difficult times because we’ve seen Him come through a hundred times before. A few days ago, I was driving down the road with my mom and dad. They are both in their eighties, now. I asked them if they ever wonder if all of this God-stuff is true. Do they ever, in the darkness and quietness of the night, wonder if God is really there. As their lives are nearer to the end than to the beginning, I wondered if doubt began to creep in. My mom gave me a very scriptural answer, yet the more interesting (and immediate) answer came from my dad, who was in the back seat. Dad’s memory isn’t what it once was, and he often sits and observes conversations rather than joining in and possibly embarrassing himself by saying the wrong thing. However, he immediately just said, “nope, I’ve seen too much.” It was matter-of-fact, based on over 80 years of life, most of which has been lived with the same Master. As the years of serving God turn into decades, we become much more comfortable just sitting with God. We don’t have to be fetching or straining to pull the leash out of His hand. We don’t feel like we have to prove our worth to Him every day or else He might get rid of us. We recognize His voice more quickly and respond more obediently; and our schedules and patterns begin to revolve around Him. One day Boomer will die and there will be another puppy moving into our house, and I will love him. I don’t want that day to come quickly, though, because he won’t be Boomer. God feels the same way about you and me, old dog. One day we will pass and other pups will live in our houses and fill our places in the workplace and in God’s church. However, He isn’t in a rush for that. He treasures these older days and the comfort level we have with Him. He also knows that we may need extra care from time to time, and He isn’t just willing to give it, He enjoys those moments of just sitting and holding us as we face sicknesses, surgeries, losses of loved ones, and even death.

One last thought. Boomer sleeps in the laundry room. First thing in the morning I look forward to opening that door and letting him come into the room with me. When He passes on, one of the things I will really miss will be seeing his face and wagging tail when I open that door. In some ways, it is the same with God and us. We are in this laundry room called life. When we spend time in prayer, worship, and corporate worship gatherings, it is like God opening that door and letting us move more into His presence. Here’s the difference, though: when Boomer is gone, there will be no more wagging tail and happy face to greet me. Our time together will have ended. When we pass, God will simply tear the door off of this laundry room and let us into the house once and for all.

Farewell to My Friend

Posted: September 3, 2014 in Inspirational

Blog 1    Boomer died, yesterday. It was Aug. 26th… National Dog Day. On July 31, we found out that he had lung cancer (I didn’t even know he was a smoker). We had four more magical weeks with him before the end crashed in our door. It broke Debbie’s and my hearts. I couldn’t look at social media yesterday, because everyone was posting pictures of their dogs doing cute things. Not their fault, just too hard to process. How do you deal with the loss of your most devoted friend? I’ll let you know when I figure it out. I have written a series of blogs and devotions about lessons I learned from Boomer throughout the ten years he lived. I didn’t know he would save his best lessons for last.

The devotional series began with the story of him, as a puppy, being afraid of thunder, and progressed through adulthood into him beginning to eat dog food for “senior dogs.” Boomer was the teacher of great life lessons (not that he knew that…). Now, one day removed from the emotion of yesterday, I am realizing that he never stopped teaching. The last four weeks were his lesson in how to dignify the end of life. We had noticed him breathing fast and shallow for a while, but just thought maybe that was him getting older. We finally decided to get him checked and the vet showed us an x-ray of his lungs. There was no healthy tissue, at all, remaining. Here was why that was a shock to us: he didn’t act any differently. He ran berserk-ly in circles, would eat anything in sight, would fetch until you begged for mercy, and remained alert and acutely aware of any movement or noise inside the house, or out. The vet said she couldn’t believe the way he acted when she looked at the x-rays. So, we took him home, determined to try to make his last few days pleasant. That wasn’t his plan, at all. It was to be business as usual, and then some. I awoke each morning expecting to see him deteriorating. He awoke each morning expecting to leap tall buildings in a single bound. There were three themes that encapsulated his last days.

First, his last days were some of his best days. He spent a couple of days in a cabin with a great view of the Smokies. One day, he went for a swim in the Little Pigeon River

 

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and then went shopping at Orvis.

 

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Other days, he fetched balls for hours or watched preseason football games.

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He went for walks, ate whatever he wanted, and just lived life all-out. Wouldn’t you love for your last days to be like that? Wouldn’t you love to live each day, not like your last day, but like the first day of summer vacation? The final morning, it was a real struggle for him to catch his breath; however, every day up to then, was really normal. In fact, just the night before, he stayed up late with me, sitting in my lap watching TV.

 

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The only sense he seemed to have of the impending end, was that he seemed hesitant to leave us and go to bed, and he often stopped at the door of his room and looked back over his shoulder at us for a long moment. I don’t know if he knew the end was coming, or if he just didn’t want another really good day to end. I knew, and I often stayed up extra late, because I didn’t want another really good day to end.

The second lesson he taught me was that he remained on task… committed to his duty to protect and be a companion to Debbie and me. For his entire life, he has been our guardian. Every day, he barked a warning to the mailman, not to even think about coming into this house. Any loud engine, dog bark, or voice that he heard outside got the same stern warning. Once, a few years ago, we got a mouse in our house. It ran into the hall bathroom and hid behind a Canada Goose statue on the floor. I’ll be honest, I was conflicted. I am an animal lover and an absolute softie. On the other hand, my wife would have spent the next two years of her life standing on our bed, if she had seen him. Boomer, on the other hand, had no such indecision. His duty was to protect us. He walked into the bathroom, I heard the goose statue scoot aside, and he walked out and dropped the dead mouse at my feet. All of this happened in under 5 seconds. In his eyes, no conflict, just commitment. The very last morning, struggling just to move and breathe, he still barked at every potential threat. In fact, he seemed to bark more that morning; as if to say: “hey, don’t think that stuff is going to fly around here after I am gone. I’ll be watching you from somewhere… and don’t make me come back down here!” He was also totally committed to doing the things that he thought would make us happy. He assumed that fetching a ball would make us ecstatic. So, even as he grew more short of breath and needed more breaks, he still would bring the ball back over and over… for hours, until you finally had to take it and hide it from him. The very last picture I ever took of him was on the last morning. Though breathing was a real struggle, I got out one of his old balls and he began yelping at it and pushing it around with his nose.

 

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No matter how much effort it required, he never failed to produce what he thought we wanted or needed from him. What a tremendous lesson in this! Even though he was deteriorating, he didn’t make it all about him. On the contrary, it was all about us and his commitment to being there for us. Oh God, let me come somewhere close to that level of unselfishness.

The final lesson was the most poignant. He never took his eyes off of his master. He could be dead asleep or across the room engaged in some other thing, but let me make a move or sound and his head immediately snapped to attention and his gaze locked onto me. Even after he had gone to bed at night, I just had to click the footrest down on my recliner and he never failed to get out of bed and come out of his room to see what I was up to. It wasn’t just about duty, it was about affection. He couldn’t stand the thought of me doing anything without him tagging along. The last couple of days, I have realized that I never take a step around my house without first looking down. That is because he was always at my feet – sometimes nearly tripping me. He had another game, any time I went to the bathroom, he came and pushed the door open and came in to check on what I was doing; and any time it was the hall bathroom, he checked behind the resin Canada goose, in case the mouse had returned. Even when I would play the piano, he would come sit at my feet and sing! He never took his eyes off of me, unless he was taking a nap on me.

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Fittingly, I was standing in front of him and petting his head when the vet gave him the final injection. He was staring straight into my eyes and took his last breath looking at me. His eyes didn’t close, they fixed… staring into my eyes. (What a way that would be to go… never taking my eyes off of my Master). And that’s why I love him so much… and miss him so much. He wasn’t my smartest friend, not at all. He wasn’t my most talented friend, either (unless you count running in circles as a talent, in which case he wins, paws down). He didn’t share words of wisdom with me or loan me money when I was down and out. In fact, he said nothing and had nothing tangible to give. What he had, and what he gave in abundance, was devotion. And that’s why he was my best friend. This must be how God felt about David. Solomon was smarter, richer, and more famous. He prayed eloquent prayers and wrote more books of the Bible than David. David just was devoted to God. He followed God around. He wrote songs about Him, he praised God, questioned God, fussed at God, and failed God. Yet, he did all of it… everything, right under God’s feet. God had to look down whenever He took a step to make sure David wasn’t going to get stepped on. If heaven has a bathroom and God uses it, David probably pushes the door open to check on Him. David’s devotion captured God’s heart like Boomer’s captured mine. I miss my boy very much.       Blog 8

Kissed By A Rose

Posted: May 20, 2014 in Inspirational

Yesterday, I got a rare opportunity. I was driving toward Nashville when I received a text message telling me that my former High School Choir director had unexpectedly passed away the night before. Being isolated in a car for the next couple of hours gave me a lot of time to reflect on my loss. You see, Rose Dover was not just one of my teachers in school. She was one of the handful of people who really helped shape my life.

As a pastor, I have had the honor of giving the eulogy for a number of people over the years. Even though there are many people who were closer to Rose and her family, and would be much more deserving of the honor than I would, I still drifted toward the thought: what would I say if I were asked to give the eulogy of this beautiful lady? My mind immediately connected to a woman named Deborah, whose story is in Judges 4 and 5. She was a judge over the nation of Israel. Before Israel had kings, judges were the leaders of the people. In fact, Judges 5:7 calls Deborah “a mother in Israel.” This was exactly what Rose had been at East Ridge High School for years. In Judges, chapter 4, Deborah encouraged a fearful general, named Barak, to lead his army into a daring attack against what seems insurmountable odds. Barak, like many of us high school boys and girls, didn’t think he had the goods to overcome the challenge. Ultimately, Deborah goes with him to support him and to help overcome his insecurity. Rose Dover did this for so many of us. She saw greatness in us when we often didn’t see it in ourselves… and, man, did she have to look hard to see it in some of us. While I imagine she had more talented students than me over the years and I am quite sure she had better behaved students than me; I might stand alone on the pantheon of her most challenging students. In fact, years later, I visited her home and she showed me her old paddle from school, which still only had one name signed on it… mine! She never gave up on me, though. In fact, she never gave up on any of us. I’ll just share one story to make my point. One day, during class, she was playing the piano as we sang. I decided to throw my music folder at the piano to startle her (don’t ask why this seemed like a good idea to me; many of my ideas didn’t turn out exceptionally well). At any rate, I threw it too high and hit her right in the face. Startle might be an understatement. She picked herself up (again, don’t ask how she got on the floor), and sent me to the principal’s office. Instead of complying, I decided to go to the cafeteria for an elongated lunch. When he had to come find me eating, you can imagine his demeanor. He told me that he was of a mind to suspend me, but, that right after she had sent me to his office, Mrs. Dover had gone into her office and called over to the principal’s office asking him to please go easy on me. During her years of teaching, she impacted thousands of kids, who could tell thousands of stories which, while not exactly like this one, would be just as meaningful to them.

As I drove on toward Nashville, I decided that I wanted to write about my feelings. Sometimes that is the place that I can best process my emotions. I was actually a bit surprised at how upset I really was over her loss. I hadn’t spent any significant time with her in decades; yet the feelings were raw and real. Then, a most wonderful thing happened. I received another message. It turns out that there was a mix-up in the earlier information. Another family in East Ridge lost a loving and I’m sure, wonderful mother and wife. She had the same last name and a son with the same name, so the confusion was easy to understand. While their grief is every bit as real as mine had been, my heart leapt. Rose was okay!

A few years ago, there was a song called “Kiss from a Rose.” Yesterday’s events brought me to the conclusion that I, too, have been kissed by a Rose. Too many times, I have delivered eulogies at friends’ or family members’ funerals that were full of words that I wished that I had told them when they were still alive. While it would be easy to breathe a sigh of relief and go back to life, here is that rare opportunity: a chance to say things that should be said. Things like: I thank you for never giving up on me, even when I must have frustrated you to death. Thank you for laughing along as I turned your well-planned rehearsals into shambles. Thank you for seeing potential in me that I probably would have missed; and thank you for calling the principal and telling him to go easy on me. Today, I pastor a remarkable group of people, and I also lead worship. I spent a number years before that as a music pastor and during that time I directed a choir. These are positions that you helped me believe that I could fill. All over the country there are other former students doing amazing things that you gave them the confidence to try. That being said, I can’t tell you how many times I have had to bite my tongue when I can’t get anything done because I can’t get singers to quit talking and musicians to quit noodling on their instruments. Nearly every time, though, I remember you. Your patience and grace in those moments was remarkable. I don’t have nearly as much of either quality, but I just about always go from frustration to a chuckle when I remember the words you spoke to me, many times: “I hope that you teach one day, and I hope you have a student just like you!” Who knew you were not only a mother to East Ridge, but a prophetess, as well? Welcome back, Mrs. Dover. There are thousands of us who are blessed to have been “kissed by a Rose.”

Pain in the Neck

Posted: February 18, 2014 in Inspirational

Ever wonder what part of the body you are? In 1 Corinthians 12:27, Paul tells us that, “all of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.” So, which part are you? I have often wondered that; however, just a few days ago, I arrived at my answer. In fact, it just might be your answer, too. If you are a pastor, as I am, you are the neck. Let me explain. The neck has two main functions: to lift and support the head, and to connect the head to the body. Colossians 1:18 clearly tells us Who is the Head. Paul writes, “Christ is also the Head of the church, which is His body…” Not only does Paul tell us that Jesus is the Head, he also tells us that the church is His body. It is the role of the neck to connect the two – body and Head. The first thing the neck must do is to hold the head upright, in its proper position above the body. Paul goes on in that same verse to say that, “He [Christ] is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So He is first in everything. It is vitally important that pastors elevate and exalt the Head at all times and in all their actions.

The other critical role of the neck is connecting the Head to the body. If there is one lesson to be learned from Henry the Eighth and his wives, it is that a headless body does not function particularly well (Sleepy Hollow, notwithstanding). The neck passes information back and forth from the head to the body and vice versa. It sends information from nerve endings throughout the body up to the brain. It passes along every ache, pain, and need of the body, so that the brain can act upon it. If the body is hungry, thirsty, in pain, or exhilarated, the neck carries that information to the brain so that it can decide on the proper course of action. It also passes information from the Head to all the extremities of the body so that it operates at full capacity and each part will be cared for, allowing the entire body to function uniformly.

There are two mistakes that we necks should try to avoid. First, we should never try to become the Head. It is our role to keep the Head raised in His position of preeminence over the body. Whenever we try to become the Head, or don’t keep the Head in His rightful place, problems ensue. You might be thinking, “Well, I would never try to take the place of Jesus as Head of the church.” Perhaps… but there are other, more subtle ways that we may make this mistake. We can allow ourselves to begin to take on responsibilities that aren’t ours – to take responsibility for building His church, funding His church, or trying to fill it. Jesus told His church’s first pastor, Peter, “Upon this rock, I will build My church.” It isn’t only pride that will drive us to try to take on the position of the Head; it is also incorrect theology and a misguided sense of responsibility. In the human body, the neck isn’t responsible for life’s decisions. It is simply a conduit between the decision-maker and the body. So should it be for the pastor.

There is a second mistake we can make, which is just as damaging and probably more common. While the neck should never try to function as the Head, it should also never attempt to function as the other parts of the body. 1 Corinthians 12:18, 19 says, “Our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. How strange a body would be if it had only one part! Imagine how inefficient your body would be (not to mention ridiculous looking) if you tried to walk on your neck. Yet, isn’t that what many of us try to do? We take on all sorts of tasks which were never part of our assignments. Do you want to know what our assignments are? In Ephesians 4:11, 12, Paul tells us, now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do His work and build up the church, the body of Christ. Just a couple of verses later, Paul tells us what the results will be of us fulfilling our responsibilities to equip the other body parts: “…we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the Head of His body, the church. 16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.”

When our body isn’t functioning correctly, or when the head is out of position, our necks will show the effects. It seems that all of the tension in our lives collects in our neck, doesn’t it? We get knots in the muscles in our necks and sometimes (when our head is out of position for too long) we even get cricks in our necks. As a good masseuse will tell you, work the kinks out of the neck and the entire body will relax. So, here’s to the necks! How about working out a few kinks? It certainly sheds a new light on the phrase, “pain in the neck,” doesn’t it?

We all heard them as kids, and then we grew up and paid handsomely for the chance to take our kids to the animated versions: Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, Rip Van Winkle, Jack and the Beanstalk. Story after story, they have filled the imaginations of children for years. Then we got a little older and were told that life is no fairy-tale. In fact, we were told, fairy-tales don’t come true; so (fill in your own line here) keep your nose clean, keep your head down, and work hard. Just about every fairy-tale follows a similar script: a beautiful prince or princess is placed under a curse by an evil being (witch, usually) and is enslaved by this curse. The king, whose daughter or son is the one enslaved, sends people to try and free her, all of whom fail, as the enemy is too clever. Finally one charming prince comes, whose love is true, and breaks the curse. At its heart, every fairy tale is a story of redemption. Whether it is a princess kissing a frog to release a prince from a curse or a prince kissing Snow White to break the spell, the moral of the story is always the same: pure love overcomes any evil. Why do you suppose our hearts are so drawn to creating and reading these kinds of stories? Because that’s our story.

The Bible is a complicated book to understand, but the entire narrative hangs from two dramatic peaks. After God has created His beautiful prince and princess, the first peak occurs in the Garden of Eden. The evil being tricks the princess into eating a forbidden piece of fruit (echoes of Snow White, anyone?). This places our star-crossed girl under a curse. The King sends a brave man named Abraham to rescue them. Abraham takes a few hundred years to develop a great army named Israel, whose mission will be to defeat the enemy and release the princess from the curse. Alas, this army is crushingly defeated by the evil being (we’ll call him satan), with many killed and most of the others enslaved. However, a small rag-tag group escapes and stumbles home to lick their wounds. One of this remnant bears a Son, whose heart is pure and whose strength is magnificent. This Son is also completely devoted to the princess who is enslaved. After some time passes, the Son goes back to confront the evil being and to win back His princess. He tricks the enemy into committing the one act that will reverse the curse, which is to kill the Son. This is the second dramatic peak on which the story hangs. Just when things seem utterly hopeless, the Son returns from the dead, having robbed the evil one of all of his power and authority. The Son then breaks the curse that enslaves His princess, allowing her to live again! Of course a wedding will follow shortly thereafter.

Deep inside of each of us, these stories resonate; because (as King Solomon put it) God has placed eternity in our hearts. We know that we were the one under the curse and could only be set free by a hero driven by pure love. We also dare to dream that we could be the one who goes on the next mission to free another prince or princess who is still under the spell of death. Our story, in its simplest form is about a King, a curse, and a cross… redemption! So, don’t be too quick to tell your kids that fairy-tales don’t come true. Yours did!