Several women commented, but no one could explain the reason that the day of Jesus’ horrific suffering could possibly be called good. One woman was so intrigued that she discussed the Bible story with her family at dinner that night. She went to her computer to search for the meaning of Good Friday. She printed an answer, brought it back to the group of women, and reported, “Good Friday is the day on which Jesus died on the cross for our sins. And that is good for us.”
I reflected with this friend that I lament the loss of the skill of map reading. To me, it goes to the wayside with a number of other skills that are no longer relevant or necessary to get through any particular situation or circumstance. Simple skills like focusing a camera, using a phone book (or directory assistance), writing a letter and sending it to a loved one, or, again, reading a roadmap to complex skills like folding a roadmap.
This week is April Fools’ Day, the only day of the year, some have noted, when it’s ok to pull pranks and practical jokes. It seems many countries and cultures have a similar tradition of a day dedicated to hoaxes and mischief, not necessarily occurring on April 1. I used to love to try to fool people on April first each year, but when I married, I discovered that not everyone liked the day. I suspect my husband may have been the object of some nasty jokes as a child, as he never found the day humorous.
First, not every woman’s pregnancy journey is joyful. Be mindful of that. (Now I know a lot of women struggle with infertility, and would give anything to become a parent. And I don’t understand God’s reasoning behind those struggles, either. But I’m not going to get into that today.) But I know for me, it was difficult to slap on a smile day in and day out when this is NOT what I had signed up for. I struggled a lot to brush off insensitive comments from strangers, friends, and family. Sometimes I just shut them out because it was less painful. One of my favorite verses that is hanging up in our living room is, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” (Romans 12:12, NIV) I tried to keep that as my mantra in pregnancy, and now in parenthood.
Many in the world today understand the importance of looking around to be aware of others in need, so we can help. As a Christian I know that the Bible both encourages and commands us to care for others. But the Lord tells us that even before we look out to others, we should first look up to Him. The first 15 verses of Psalm 105 are also recorded in 1 Chronicles 16:8-22. There is a lot of meaningful stuff in these passages and Psalm 105:4 is no exception: “Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.” (NIV). The Amplified Bible puts it this way: “Seek and deeply long for the Lord and His strength [His power, His might]; Seek and deeply long for His face and His presence continually.” I can’t continually seek God’s face if I am only paying attention to my own agenda—even when my agenda is filled with things that are good or even necessary.
My husband and I are in the midst of raising four teenage daughters…yes, that’s right, four girls between the ages of 13 and 19. Our oldest will be 20 in a few months, so there is light at the end of the tunnel! Raising these kids always puts me in mind of where they get their sense of worthiness. It’s in our human DNA to belong. This is especially true in kids. When we belong to a group, we feel a sense of worthiness and well-being and are at peace. Instead of my kids getting their sense of belonging from the world, which is fleeting and ever changing, I want them (and me!) to get it from the Lord, who is eternal and everlasting.