The memory of the scent of lilacs in my grandparent's backyard, a rose garden brimming with its enchanting perfume, tulips in their merriment, makes me feel blessed. This stands in sharp contrast to this story.
God's magnificence amazes me. Yet one Arizona evening, there was an array of flowers in all their adornment, that stood out more than any other.
During the Lenten Season of 2004, I went to a movie premiere with a close friend and my son. For two whole months, I had listened to detailed interviews and promotions in anticipation of seeing this movie.
The movie was "The Passion of the Christ," and it would forever change how I viewed the pain that my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, went through for me.
It wasn't so much the scenes picturing our Lord's betrayal, the intense scenes filled with the pent-up-emotions of Mary's weeping; the mocking, or the beatings He endured. Those were horrifying enough, but the scene in "The Passion of the Christ" that I was not prepared for was the long, long, road to Golgotha, mentioned in John 19:17, NKJV. As the sharp splinters from the wood bore into His emaciated skin, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, shouldered that heavy cross for us all.
Whenever I would think about the incomprehensible torture at Calvary and the events that led to it, I would think about the sharp and excruciating pain as the nails were being driven into His wrists and feet for us. I would also think about Judas's infamous betrayal, Peter's forlorn denial, along with the disciples apathy. I would even meditate on the fearful heart that scripture says Jesus had at Gethsemane while pleading with His Father for another way for mankind to be delivered. Yet, never once in all my growing-up-years had I really thought about Golgotha.
That night in the movie theater as I watched His wearied, bloodied and severely weakened body as it dropped under the weight of cross, I had a fresh understanding of the price Jesus paid for us...
My heart felt like it had skipped several beats, I could hardly wait to get out of the movie theater and yet I knew I needed to appreciate what He had done for me in a deeper way than ever before. I believed that God was calling me to hurt with the sharpness of His pain. Not that I could carry it, He did that. But He calls us to suffer with Him. Romans 8:16-17 speaks of this when it says,"The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs----heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together." -- NKJV.
Eventually as the credits began to roll, the house lights came up, it was almost a sense of relief that the movie was over. But at the same time, we felt a need to sit there and absorb all we had just seen. Our friend, Jan, decided she would go home and collapse as the movie had emotionally drained her. She had had her face in her hands the whole time, occasionally peering at the screen with one eye. My son and I were going to go home to enjoy the privilege of sharing communion, an extra special blessing that night. But first, the Lord had something important that He wanted to share with me.
As we left the theater and went out into the night air, I turned my head and beheld the most amazing array of flowers! I can't even remember what kind they were, but as I stood there, I saw their color was so intense and sharp; more vivid than any beauty I had ever seen before.
God filled me with His joy that night and spoke to my sad heart. He tenderly said,"I am alive, look at these brilliant colors. I have arisen, I want you to rise also, in your heart. John 16:33, Jesus spoke these comforting words to His disciples the same week that He was crucified, "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."--- NKJV
Author's note: This is a true story in the life of the author.
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