This is Easter week, a time for celebrating the glory of God and the fulfillment of His plan for salvation. The ultimate sacrifice of His Son to pay the penalty for our sins.
I know my heart should soar as I contemplate the death of Christ and His resurrection. But sometimes I feel strangely apathetic.
I find myself at a curious stage in life. I’ve walked with Christ for many years, and the sameness of weekly and yearly routines can lead to a creeping indifference. Sometimes every sermon, every prayer, every song seems like a rehash of what I’ve heard before. Been there, done that.
Last week I was in the midst of one of these moods when an odd thought came to me:
Where would you be today if Christ had not come into your life?
And immediately I knew the answer.
I would be lost.
For the first time in many years, I opened up the journal I kept in college. I started it during my freshman year to practice writing and to record my thoughts about my experiences as a student at the University of Missouri. Reading the journal today is like going back in time; I see a portrait of young man who enjoyed his college years yet also struggled with choices and relationships and setbacks.
In the spring of my freshman year I wrote:
The last few days I’ve been coming to some realizations about myself, especially about myself and religion. … I’ve gained a basic belief in God, but it doesn’t mean that much to me. And I want it to. It seems like I’ve been getting farther and farther away from God.
I had grown up going to church, but little had sunk in. I didn’t doubt the existence of God, but I had no idea of how to relate to Him. To me, the Bible was merely a collection of interesting stories, and I had no idea whether Jesus really was the Son of God.
The young man I see in these journal entries had no real beliefs or convictions, no anchor, no direction or sense of purpose. A year later I went through a brief time of depression, and my only remedy was to increase my training for an intramural half-mile race. In the middle of that period, however, I heard a speaker named Josh McDowell present a message on campus about evidence for the truth of the Scriptures. That sparked some reading of my own, and I acknowledged that the Bible was not only a trustworthy historical document but also the revealed Word of God.
Then the scales fell from my eyes, and I understood the gospel for the first time. I recognized my sin and rebellion against God, and I realized why Christ died for those sins. In my journal I wrote:
I finally asked Jesus Christ to enter into my heart and guide my life, and I thanked Him for forgiving my sins. There was no bright light flashing, no loud voice proclaiming that I was saved, or anything like that. No great changes have been made in the last two days. But changes will be made …
It is probably the most important decision I will ever make.
At the time I thought I had found God. The truth is He found me. I suppose that’s why my favorite line in the hymn “Amazing Grace” is, “I once was lost, but now I’m found.”
So where would I be without Christ in my life? I’d be on a different road. My heart tells me that, no matter what happened in my professional life, I would have grown into a very unhappy man, drifting with the currents of our culture with no anchor for my soul.
I can’t imagine how I would have maintained a solid marriage. I’m not saying it would have been impossible; I just know my heart, and I know I would have made some destructive choices.
For me, the cure for the sickness of Easter Apathy is remembering what He has done in my life. God knew I was lost and unable to find Him by my own effort, and He took the initiative to send His Son to pay the penalty for my sin. He made me a new creature, and gave me a new life. Everything I enjoy today—my ministry, my marriage, my children—is a gift from Him.
That’s the miracle of Easter.
Copyright © 2010 by FamilyLife. All rights reserved.
Are there areas of your marriage you've given up on? Authors Joel and Nina Schmidgall talk about the importance of praying without ceasing, especially for your marriage. God honors bold prayer, and bold prayer honors God. Let’s step up boldly to God’s throne of grace and ask Him for our heart’s desire.All Sermons by Dave and Ann Wilson with cohost Bob Lepine