Monday, April 3, 2017

Are You In Good Hands?

Time passed following Jim's death, and God continued to beckon me. Listen to what happened next:

It was Good Friday and although I hadn't attended a Lenten service in years, something nagged me to bring the family to church that night. I struggled with the idea all day.

After all, how could I change our plans?  My husband and I took the kids out for pizza every Friday night, and this Friday was no different. If I suggested going to the Good Friday service, it would disrupt our routine. It would rock the boat. I'd have to sell the idea. 

So I said nothing.

But that night, as we motored to the pizzeria, we passed our church. I noticed the Good Friday service had already started, and the parking lot was packed.

We had to be there. I just knew it.

"Pull over," I said to my husband, who was driving. I motioned toward the church.

It was late. The kids were hungry. The service was well underway. But I insisted we stop.

We found space on the grass and parked the car. I slung the baby onto my hip while Joe grabbed the hands of our other two young daughters. Amid mild protests, we rushed across the darkened parking lot and slipped into the back of the church.

 A few empty seats remained, and we slid into them.

The life-sized crucifix on the altar was draped in red cloth. The lights were dimmed.  The congregation was blanketed in reverence.

We joined the assembly as they began singing a traditional Lenten refrain. I sang from the depths of my heart. I meant every word. It was more than a song, it was an earnest prayer: Abba, Father, I put my life in your hands.

Sitting in the back of that church, immersed in the moment, I released the fears, doubts, anger, and resentments that plauged me in the wake of Jim's death. No wonder something beckoned me to show up for the Good Friday service. I was at the right place, at the right time and it remains our tradition to this day.

That day, as we sang, my perspective changed.  I realized, perhaps for the first time, that it wasn’t my life, but Christ's life within me, that mattered.

A divine exchange was taking place. I could give Christ all my troubles and worries, and receive, instead, His comfort and peace.

Abba, Father, I put my life in your hands.

I finally meant it.

Abba, Father, I put my life in your hands.

I’m trying to live it.

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