We just got back from a family vacation in the Smokey Mountains…beautiful by the way, you should go! Warning: it’s very hot & humid, so if you’re from South Dakota like me it’ll be a bit of a shock, but you should still go!
So Tennessee is a long way from Spearfish, so we decided to fly. Not exciting so far I know, a lot of people fly to go on vacation. We like to fly Southwest for a myriad of reasons, except the catch is that the nearest airport that Southwest flies into is Denver, a solid six hour drive away. No big deal, we were flying out Tuesday so we drove down Monday & started our vacation that night in a nice hotel.
For some reason flying has not been our friend lately. On our last trip back from Oregon visiting family our flight was delayed for hours, and this flying trip starts out by us missing our flight to Nashville – first time I’ve ever missed a commercial flight – by about 5 minutes. It was a myriad of reasons, but we missed it. So a day that was supposed to get us to Nashville to drive to Pigeon Forge at 1:40 in the afternoon was delayed by 4 hours, not counting an hour stop in Kansas City. So we end up getting to Nashville not until nearly 9pm, our rental car & dinner at 10pm, then start the 3 hour trip east. We got to bed late.
On our way back, our flight was delayed (go figure) from 6:40pm to 7:25. We get there (late) but get to the gate with time to spare only to find our flight was delayed again until at least 8:10. We got on, and to make a long story short we don’t take off until nearly 10pm that night, turning our arrival time from reasonable (before it was 8:40pm) to now about 12:30am (yep, in the morning). Topped off, our hotel couldn’t honor our double Queen bed reservation and everyone had to pile into one king bed, except Daddy who slept on the floor (but when you’re going to bed at 4am you tend not to care where you sleep as much). All this with 3 kids by the way, with our youngest still nursing…
Our vacation was great, and once we got where we were going things were fine. But getting there and getting back was a little bit frustrating. My wife & I just laughed when things happened – it was all we could do. But in the end it turned out well and we have good stories to tell. Things often don’t go right, and when they do we tend not to notice them as much as if they had gone wrong.
I often wonder if this is what the apostles thought when Jesus said, “It is finished,” hung his head and died…actually died. I tend to think this was near literally the end of the world in their minds – this man Jesus, who we believe to be God – GOD!- whom we’ve followed & given our lives to for the last three years is…dead…really dead… What would you have thought if you were in their shoes?
We have the benefit of history, & know as they found out that three days later Jesus would rise from the dead, & things turned out for the better. But I would think that for those three days the apostles had no idea to think except that things had gone wrong. Until they turned right.
Death is a natural thing except when its not. Dying young or from an accident is not natural and the epitome of what we think of as something going wrong. But there can be power in death. No, I don’t mean the power of death over mortal man, but something far more significant. Jesus tells us as written in Matthew 16 & Luke 9 to pick up our cross and follow Him. Do you catch the significance of that? What would you be doing if you were to pick up your cross in 1st century Israel? You’d be going to die. You’d be picking up that upon which you’d be crucified & killed. Paul writes in Galatians 2:20 that we who follow Jesus have been crucified with Him, that it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me – basically Paul is saying a death has occurred (yours) and new life has come (Christ’s). This kind of death is a good thing, and here’s the thing: people notice. Many have said they thought things were going right in their life until they followed Christ, then they realized just how wrong things had gone, and it took a death to put things right. First Christ’s, then our own to follow Him. It may seem like the wrong thing, but it always proves to be the right thing.
I’ll be preaching this this Sunday July 31st @ Northern Hills, and if you can make it great, but if not and you’d like to hear more, check out our Media page after Sunday, or feel free to contact us if you have questions.
Grace to you.