Have you ever heard God speaking to you? Whether you have, or you haven’t, I think you’d like to hear this amazing story…
At the recent International Convention of the Familia de Dios in Seattle, the Rev. Francisco Zuniga shared this:
Around 20 years ago, when visiting Seattle from Chile, he was struggling with a major decision.
During the worship service, Bro. Francisco was standing somewhere in proximity to my mother. He didn’t speak any English, and my mother, didn’t speak a lick of Spanish. However, all of a sudden, while she was worshipping, he heard her speak clearly IN PURE AND PERFECT SPANISH: “What you are thinking of, do it!”
A seasoned man of God, he knew immediately that the Lord God was speaking an answer directly to him. He made his decision, went back to Chile and put the vision that was in his heart into action. Over the next two decades through prayer, hard work, perseverance, and the blessing of God Almighty, he trained and raised up hundreds of passionate men and women, young people and adults, who have, in turn, taken the Gospel of Jesus Christ and spread the Good News to multiple nations, including Chile and the United States, but also to several others.
As this gentle servant of God looked over this international convention with tears of joy…he smiled at my elderly mother seated in the back row – a woman who had spoken the message God had given her, in a tongue she didn’t understand, 20 years ago!
This testimony, and a million others like it, verify that God speaks to mankind, and speaks to us as individuals. I know He has been so kind to speak to me so many times.
So, the question isn’t “Does God speak to us?” but “Are we listening?”
It was hard, cruel and excruciating. There was blood, sweat and thorns. The air was filled with bitterness, hatred, and anger. And amidst the rancor, the condemnation of an innocent man to die a humiliating death on a Roman cross. Darkness descended on the whole land in the middle of the day. An earthquake shook the people. The veil of the temple in Jerusalem was ripped in half from top to bottom at the hour of Jesus death. They pierced his side and watched as blood and water flow out from his broken heart.
And we call it Good Friday. Where is the goodness in that, you might say? Well, there is. An amazing amount of goodness.
Explore with me the goodness that is Good Friday…
At first glance, it seems that all is lost. That good has been overtaken by evil. That the mean, debauched and loud majority has won. That the voice of kindness and love has been silenced. That the Man of Galilee is no more and the hope that He brought, gone.
But that Friday was planned by God to bring about a better day. It was truly His goodness that was about to be shown to the whole world. Through the sacrifice that we see in the voluntary laying down of His life, Jesus was sending us a message: “For greater love has no man than this, that a man would lay down his life for his friend.” He was, in essence, saying: “The goodness of God is wooing you back to your Creator. I am making a way for an unholy people to be redeemed back to a holy God. This is love personified.”
Good Friday was a prerequisite to Sunday morning’s Resurrection. Without the first, there wouldn’t have been the second. Jesus said as much to the disciples: “It’s dark now, but wait, Sunday’s on the way.” He promised to rise again and He did. And the Resurrection brought hope to all mankind. Good Friday wasn’t a defeat, it was a victory. A victory over sin, over self, a victory over death, hell and the grave! Wow…goodness, hope and joy!
That’s why we call it Good Friday.
Life is like this too. There is pain, agony and hurt. We may sometimes wonder if we’ll make it through. Whatever happens, hold on, it is often darkest just before dawn. And today I encourage you to think about the goodness that is Good Friday, embrace it – embrace God’s goodness – and you’ll feel the joy when Sunday dawns.
Happy Easter everyone!
Changing the clocks forward once a year for Spring – for those of us that do – can be a little stressful. It causes us to get up an hour earlier than normal, often losing an hour of sleep we might normally have. We encounter a few grumpy people on the roads on Monday morning and some bleary eyes at work. Even for us early birds it can be a little difficult to adjust the first few days of the changeover. No doubt many of us would prefer that there was not a time-change at all, as some places have chosen to do, so that we wouldn’t have the disruption of our lives and schedules.
However, changing the clocks does herald the change of a season, doesn’t it? When it happens, we know that Spring is just around the corner. Winter is on its way out. Cold, cloudy days will soon behind us and sparse landscapes will be transformed as warm sunshine, blue skies, spring flowers and blossoming trees take their place.
Whether one changes the clocks or not, there is a time of transition before every new season. Temperatures change, weather changes, and other factors always announce a new season.
We also have new seasons in our everyday lives. And with each new season comes some type of transition. Before the exciting birth of a new child, a pregnancy occurs bringing a host of transitional changes. Before a teen becomes an adult, they go through a time of transition and growth. Before we embark on a new life journey, there’s a time of preparation.
These times of transition also bring their challenges, as do the changing of the clocks. And these challenges, if we allow them, can steal our daily joy. It is key during these transitions that we look beyond our challenges, and temporary set-backs, to what lies ahead. That we hold on to hope.
During this time before Easter as we consider the passion of Christ, we know that Jesus also went through a transition. A very, very difficult one. The Scripture says “For the joy that was set before Him, He endured the cross, despised the shame, and is set down on the right hand of God.” What an amazing witness to the power of looking ahead. We may not know what the future holds, as Jesus did, but we can know that even during the toughest transitions ‘these things too shall pass’.
As you look forward to Spring, or the next season of your life, I encourage you to not allow the present challenges you face to steal your joy and peace. Look forward with hope and spring forward into joy. It’ll make all the difference to the quality and joy of your present and your future.