Is it just me, or is the idea that Jesus loves us just baffling? For the vast majority of my walk as a Christian, my confidence in God’s love was, frankly, suspended. How do you trust something that simply doesn’t make sense?
This month I finally got around to watching the TV series The Chosen, which got a lot of attention when quarantine began last year. It’s an immensely detailed and well-thought-out series based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, and I wasn’t sure how great it’d be until I watched it! There was something that struck me particularly deeply in episode 6. The character Nicodemus (who is canonically in the Bible) is troubled by John the Baptist’s arrival and his possible connections to prophecies of the Torah.
In his letters, Paul consistently teaches us what it means to be conformed to Christ. Particularly in Philippians 1:18-21, he points out that it is his blessing to suffer, that the gospel is going to gain from it, and Christ will be glorified, even if Paul dies doing the work. How does suffering, humiliation, and death create something positive and glorifying to God?
I had never given much thought to how close Heaven was or how “seen” we are by our loved ones that have passed until I lost my husband. When he died this last year, I devoured every book, article, and blog that I could get my hands on that would describe Heaven and what my husband was experiencing.
When we think about the celebration of Easter, of course, we immediately think of Jesus’ death and rising in fulfillment of scripture. It is a time of rebirth, a renewal of our baptismal promises and celebration. For most of us, last year (and most likely this year) the celebrations look a little different.
A few months ago, I joined an online writers’ group with the intention of having some writing fun in my retirement and learning from others. I had no idea that God had another plan in mind. As I began reading posted writings, as well as the comments and reviews, I started noticing a few Christians. Soon I was asked to join a group of writers who sometimes post about how God is working in their lives, a way of sharing their faith.