What does the cross mean to me?
I love the truth of it and the power of it. I love the forgiveness that comes with it. I love that Christ overcame it…that He lives.
The cross was never not going to happen, from the trouble God had with Adam and Eve- to His detailed instruction for the building of the temple - to the day Christ prayed in the garden. Every story is about Christ…It is not a matter of what if; it is a matter of what God did.
This is how much God loved the world: He gave His one and only son…
Yet God said we would have trouble…I love knowing that God said that…because He also said, I will give you a way to stand up under it. You will have trouble He said but do not be afraid, put on the armor…stand firm, be still, know that I am with you…my right hand will hold you, I will wait for you, I will fight for you.
These are the things I know.
When my children were little and wanted to go fish in the water filled ditch by the side of the tracks right out here on the corner of Vye and Marion, I knew there were dangers…the murky water, the train tracks so close, the road they had to cross…I knew there could be trouble. But what I knew more was that God loved my children more than I did and that I could trust Him to cover them, to watch over them. They never had any trouble and they never caught any fish, I don’t think there ever were any but they had adventure… and I
had trust and faith and hope and His promise…you will have trouble, but I. I will be with you.
When I was a little girl my grandparents sometimes took me to Sunday school, I sometimes attended the summer bible school in their church and when I was in grade five I received the little red bible my school allowed to be given out. I prayed the prayer that was printed on the front pages and I became truly saved. That’s when it started but as I got older life changed, new ideas, new thoughts, new friends and I let my God thoughts slip away, not totally but still.
John was raised as a Christian, but wasn’t living that life when I met him; not when I married him nor when we had children, but once our children were old enough, he wanted them to go to Sunday school, he wouldn’t go but would I take them? I said no…not without you. But God was already working, using John despite John. It wasn’t long when I found myself thinking, the church is just down the road, maybe we could go, it could be a social outlet; they could have fun, play with other children. So I took them during the Sunday school hour - they had their class and I sat in with the adult class…taking in His word and while I waited for my children, God took hold of me.
A few years later we moved to a new home John said to me, if you and the children would go to Arnold church, I will join you…great, let’s go…but he never did. Other than he came to special events; taking in piano recitals, Christmas programs, baptisms…he supported attendance to every youth event and paid. He suggested Christian school…but all the while lived his own life.
For 30 some years I prayed for him to walk through the church doors with me and sit beside me on the pew in the midst of the saints and listen to the singing and the sermon and…
God never answered that prayer, not in the way I wanted…but I never gave up hope.
And in the last years we noticed slight changes in the way he did life; little things, choices, words, ways of looking.
Then came our trouble, surely not our only trouble, heaven knows we had lots …but then came THIS TROUBLE…he was sick. We found out something was wrong in September, in October we found out what it was and in November… it was finished.
Cancer. Wrapped around his lungs entangling his heart…his hopes. From his hospital room he said “This changes everything…” I can still see him standing there… It was like he glowed, like he knew what he had to do, what I knew he already had…
He had heard God’s quiet whisper… and he was being held…God said, throughout your life you did have trouble and now, there will be more, but I am holding you, I Love you, I know you…I have been waiting for you…
He seemed at peace, I noticed it, witnessed it, I stood at his cross and watched him…watched God do something new. As he was dying he said to me I’m sorry for all the times I didn’t know how to love or show it to you…I didn’t know how. He said he was sorry for knowing about Gods way but not knowing how to leave his own way.
Now everything changed…he fell into God’s grace.
I knew a woman, some of you knew her too, her name was Mary, she lived to 102, all the years I knew her and all the years I didn’t… she served God wholeheartedly.
John lived to 58 and all the years I knew him, he chose not to serve God…as well as he could have… but you know, he received the same amazing grace that Mary did…amazing grace, how sweet the sound! Just the way the thief who hung on the cross aside of Jesus…truly I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise…
John’s last words to me were in a whisper “I will see you on the other side”
And then God took him.
What does the cross mean to me? Forgiveness; Amazing grace; and knowing that death does not have the last word…my hopes confirmed.