I wait for you more eagerly than a soldier on guard duty waits for the dawn. Yes, I wait more eagerly than a soldier on guard duty waits for the dawn. Psalms 130:6
“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
“Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
“Woman, behold, your son!” “Behold, your mother!”
Read the final words of Jesus. Think about all He had suffered, just before He spoke them. In the garden, sweating blood as He anticipated the agony of what lay ahead. The betrayal of His closest friends. Merciless beatings, severe enough in and of themselves, to have caused His death. Scorn from those, who just days earlier, had honored and praised Him as their king. The humiliation of being mocked, spit upon, and stripped naked. The torture of being nailed to a cross and finally, bearing the full sin of all mankind upon His sinless body.
Read Jesus’ words again. Do you see it? At His height of suffering, Jesus prays for the ones who drove the nails into His feet and hands. In the midst of His agony, He offers eternal assurance to a repentant man. He ignores His horrific pain, to insure His Mother will be cared for.
It is only after He has seen to the needs of others that He turns His attention to His own suffering.
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Even then, as Christ desperately cries out to His Father, I can’t help but wonder if He wasn’t thinking about us. Are there any of us who have not, at some time in our lives, called out to God “why have you abandoned me”? Haven’t all of us been through a dry season and longed for a cool stream to refresh our parched spirits.
Jesus’ pleas were heard. And so are ours as He declared, once and for all…
“It is finished”
Nothing more to be done. Nothing else needed All the requirements fulfilled.
Final words, final assurance.
“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!”
To anyone who has ever stood by the bed of a loved one as they took their final breath, these are words of comfort. They promise us that He who knit us in our Mother’s womb is there, waiting to receive our spirit. These words confirm that Jesus has defeated death. We can have confidence that His spirit, having returned to the Father, will live eternally and so will ours. In this final statement, we have God’s ultimate promise and our ultimate hope.
At no other time in recorded scripture do we see Jesus’ humanity so evidently revealed. In the final hours at Calvary, we see Jesus, fully God, fully man. The One who knew no sin, became the embodiment of sin.
Seven statements from the cross. Parting thoughts. Thoughts of you and me.
In Jesus’ last words, we have the entire gospel message. The message of forgiveness, eternal life, love for one another, His righteousness imparted to us. It is a message important enough for Jesus to die for; shouldn’t it be important enough for us to live for? Knowing He did all this for us, how can we do less for Him?
Father, never let us forget what the Easter season is really about. Keep us mindful of the horrors of the cross and the sufferings we have been spared because Jesus suffered for us. Always remind us that even in His final hours, we were never far from Jesus’ thoughts. Above all, place deep within our minds the truth of the victory that was won for us that day at Calvary; and deep within our hearts a desire to share the message with those who remain lost. Amen.
Christ died so we can live. His sacrifice at Calvary is for everyone who will come and follow Him. Have you made that commitment? Have you knelt at the foot of the cross and surrendered your heart to the One Who died for your sins? If you haven’t, there will never be a better time than now.
All you need to do is pray:
Confess to Jesus that you are a sinner who needs salvation
Believe in your heart that He is only One who can save you
Ask Jesus to forgive your sins
Surrender your life and your will to Him
Ask Him give you a new heart, and a new spirit
because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9
On the table next to my bed there is a picture of my Mamma and me; it was taken in 2010, the last Mother’s Day we spent together. It’s all so confusing. In some ways it’s unbelievable that in a couple weeks it will have been five years since we made that picture. The memory of her is so fresh I can almost hear her laughter; and yet, the emptiness in my heart feels like an eternity.
I can’t help but wonder if things would have been different if I had known then that if would be our last Mother’s Day. Would I have lingered just a little longer before saying goodbye? Would I have given her one more kiss, held her hand for a minute more, told her one more time I loved her? Of course, we can never know about those things, it wouldn’t be right to know. I can only hope that in spite of all that Alzheimer’s had stolen from her, that she knew she was my Mamma. I hope she knew what a special lady she was and how much she was loved and admired, .
One of my favorite devotions, written for her that same year she passed, is “The Red Purse”. I like to share it each Mother’s Day in honor of her and as a reminder of how blessed I am to have known her . I pray you will be blessed.
The Red Purse
Sandra Bivens Smith
Turning 60 had a profound effect on me. It seemed that everything either sagged, wrinkled or just plain quit working. Aside from the changes my body experienced, I notice some changes mentally as well. Thinking more about today and worrying less about tomorrow became easier; after all as one gets older, it becomes a fact of life that today is pretty much all you’ve got. And, I bought a red purse. Now, you would have to know me to appreciate what a big step that was. As I am pretty much a black, white, and navy blue kind of gal, purchasing a big red pocket-book was a bold move. Over the past couple years, that red purse has become a dear friend. As constant companions, we have come to know and depend on each other. Like me, she is becoming worn in spots and more than a little frayed around the edges. Her zipper doesn’t work quite as smoothly and her lining is ripped.
My daughter constantly mentions that I need to replace my red purse. “I like it” I tell her, “there is nothing wrong with my purse”. “But Mom”, she says, “the stitching is coming loose and the leather is worn down. It’s all worn out.” She’s right. It is all worn out. But in spite of how frayed it is on the outside, my red purse still serves a purpose. I can still put all my treasures inside with confidence that they will be secure. It still carries my eyeglasses, phone, tissue, lipstick, and a myriad of other “necessities”, and rarely complains about the strain.
We live in a world where the new and improved is mostly preferred over the old and proven. It’s like that with people as well. The world looks at those who have become frayed and worn on the outside and judge that their usefulness is spent. But, if they would just take the time to look on the inside, they would discover treasures. They would find a bounty of experience, wisdom, counsel; and wealth that can only come from living.
This attitude toward the aged is not new. As King David was in the later years of life and faced his son Absalom’s rebellion to take over the kingdom, David prayed, “Do not cast me off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength is spent” (Psalms 71:9).
My Mamma now lives in a nursing home with many others who, like her, have lived out the better part of their lives. She has advanced dementia and can barely speak in sentences. Her eyesight has failed so that she can barely see and her legs are so weak they can hardly support her frail frame. It would be easy to spend a few minutes with her and conclude that she has nothing to offer. I know better. All those years of living, learning, and experiencing are still inside her mind. Just because she has lost the ability to express her wisdom, doesn’t mean she no longer has it. Thinking back to Mamma’s advice through the years, advice which most of the time, (regrettably) I ignored, I wish with all my heart, I could ask her just one more time what she thought. You see, it’s now clear; Mamma was right about most everything. It is no longer possible to ask her for her thoughts, but it is not too late to seek her advice. How Mamma lived, how she loved, has taught me more about life than all the world could ever hope to teach me.
Do you want to know what’s important? Spend time with those who have actually lived life. Do you want to learn how to get through the trials of life? Visit with someone who has gone through season after season and survived the storms that came with each one. Do you want to be wise? Watch and learn from those who have gained wisdom that can only come from the experiences of living through good times and hard times.
Start your own “Red Purse Society”. Seek out those whose leather is worn and whose stitching is loose; look inside and I promise, you will find great treasure.