Throughout the world Christian communities are entering a four-day period of time (Holy Thursday – Easter Sunday) in which we commemorate the pivotal point in human history. As Christ followers we reflect on the incredible depth of divine love that would compel Jesus to surrender his life in a horrific death that all the forces of evil may lose the power of their hold on humanity.
While the historicity of the death of Jesus is not widely disputed, what happened the following Sunday is. A small group of women were the first to discover that the grave-cave of Jesus was empty. Subsequently, the risen Jesus appeared to many of his disciples. To say that their world was rocked would be an understatement. From then on they spent the rest of their lives declaring that God had defeated death through Jesus the Messiah. They were willing to suffer great hardship and martyrdom to declare this “scandalous” news to an unknowing/unbelieving world.
I had a discussion earlier today with a group of skeptics. We had a great time sharing ideas. I spoke to them about my conversion to the Christian faith in 1976. Just prior to faith being born in my spirit I had concluded that if there is a good and loving God who has created us to live forever in community with Him, something would have to be done about all the enemies of humanity.
For me it was obvious that the last enemy is death. For me, a good God would defeat death. Once I had come to that conclusion, I read the story of Jesus’ resurrection in a totally different way and God gave me the gifts of belief, faith and salvation.
Ten years ago I wrote this poem as my Ebenezer Stone to God. I titled it You Were There.
I was young and bold and strong… no need for you… no thought that you were anything more… than the vain imaginings of the deluded masses…
Yet… You were there… hidden in the clarity of my unbelieving conviction.
I looked around… and felt my way through the fog… a wet, darkness descended upon youthful exuberance… loss, despair, pain, incredible pain. I saw nothing, and felt everything.
Yet… You were there… shedding tears through me, unknown, yet so close.
I cried out… to an empty universe… hear me, expecting no voice in return… overwhelming hurt whirling me in the centrifuge of grief… torn apart.
And You were there… I began to hear you, hearing me… faint hope.
Page after page I searched down the path of redeeming love…knowing You not, I chased after the One chasing me. In the twilight of my dreams… trembling with fear…
You were there… embracing me…You, yet unnamed.
In a moment, a flash…splitting my mind, piercing my heart. I believed…God of the universe… Jesus my Christ… a cross, a word…an empty tomb. You did what only You could do. My soul redeemed; my life made new… everything new!! Hallelujah!!
And how You were there!!
A tune in my head…one word on repeat… always, always, always…a declaration You’ve made, “I will be with you always…”
The best of all, You are with me…
In the light… you are there; in the darkness…you are there; through the tears…you are there; in the joy…you are there; with every shout…you are there; in the quiet…you are there; in my living… you are there; in my dying… you are there…you are there…you are there. Always…Always…