by: Pocatello-Chubbuck Observer Columnist Barb Lissow
April 1, 2021
Out of the Darkness
It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights. Psalm 18:32-33
It’s here… the time of year when we celebrate Christ Jesus’ unimaginable love for us. But, as we travel through the Scriptures in this Lenten season leading up to His glorious resurrection morning, we also remember the somber, dark last days of Jesus’ sacrificial path to the Cross.
For now we live in this earthly realm, and all of us will experience dark times…. sometimes we can feel devastated, overwhelmed, desperate, alone and hopeless. Can we truly appreciate Jesus’ humanly distress in the Gethsemane garden? Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death…” Matthew 26:38. God knew the burdens of His Son; God was with His Son in that garden, listening and giving the answer to Jesus’ plea… Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Matthew 26:39.
As I reflect on this important time in our church calendar, I recall one of my husband’s sermons where he painted a vivid verbal picture of how our Heavenly Father wraps His arms around us, welcomes us into His presence, and loves us even though we smell like the “hog pens” of the world because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ (the teaching was from Luke 15:11 and the parable of the lost son). Dear ones, as Believers, trust that God cares for us, and God knows what’s going on in our lives just as He did in His beloved Son’s. AND, just as the opening of that once dark tomb exposed the risen and saving Light, God continues to promise us the Best and ultimately Greatest Hope to break our chains of darkness! He may use our Christian friends to be the hugs, the hands, the listening ears, creating a comfort zone to share those dark times, but we must first turn to HIM. Jesus had his closest friends with Him in the garden, but He turned to His Heavenly Father in humble and earnest prayer. God promises us that He will keep our feet steady on rocky, treacherous ground (Psalm 18:32-33), and that He will walk along side of us, guiding our feet and yoking Himself with our burdens, making our loads light (Matthew 11:29).
The Gentle Shepherd guides us around obstacles that block our paths and through the waters that threaten to sweep us off our feet. Sometimes He carries our burdens on our journey, but most of the time He carries us, burdens and all! Through it all, my dear friends in Christ, HE IS THERE. When we surrender our hearts, minds and lives to Christ Jesus, and worship our Triune God alone, we can confidently raise our arms toward Heaven, open our clenched hands, extend our fingers away from our palms, and release the burdens of this old world. Our paths are cleared, our footing is sure, the darkness loses its hold, and our brightly lit eternity is certain and glorious in Him! Halleluiah, He is Risen!
Forgiven in Christ, Barb Lissow
Zion Lutheran Church, Burley, Idaho