Hows it hanging?
I’ll address my absence in a later post but I couldn’t let Passion week (Holy week) pass without writing about what God has revealed to me. I was in class last night and we happened to be studying the life and death of Jesus this week. Reading through the story of Jesus never loses its impact on my life and every year I get so much more than the previous year. This time it was no different.
Let me first confess that I have been in an ongoing argument with God which has been at a stalemate for the past two weeks. Things like my future, my job, my future husband, missions, etc have constantly been a point of impact with us. I just want God to give me a list of what comes first, when it comes, how, and why, but despite my desperate pleas, He hasn’t yielded. Now obviously the rational side of me keeps thinking, “Hey God knows what He’s doing!” but the emotional side doesn’t give a crap. I just want to know and I want to know now. Yes, I am as spiritually mature as a 5 year old.
This constant state of discontentment has been following me like a storm cloud; no rain but dark and ominous. A week ago I spoke at the Sigma Phi Lambda Alpha Beta chapter retreat about contentment (God’s got jokes). As I was preparing to speak I realized how discontent I was. I was not enjoying the life I had right in front of my eyes. And so I set out to learn the secret of contentment that Paul talks about. I scoured my bible, searched the internet, listened to podcasts; anything I could get my hands on I was eating it up. In the end I did end up with a good devotional but more than that I uncovered what was off in my life. I couldn’t exactly put it into words until last night in my Christian principles class. We were watching an old Christian documentary series that had to be filmed in the late 80’s early 90’s. Beyond the huge framed glasses and the 10 gallons of hairprayed hair, God used this video to show me exactly what my problem was.
You may or may not know that the death of Jesus Christ was a political event as much as it was spiritual. During this time Jews from all over were coming into Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. The week before Passover started, thousands of Jews would come and they would pick out the best, purest, most innocent lamb to sacrifice during Passover. Around the same time, some crazy lunatic, a different one each year, would claim to be the Messiah, rile up all the Jews in Jerusalem and try to fight the Romans. Because of this the Romans increased security in Jerusalem and tensions ran high. The Jews were tired of being ruled by the Romans and the Romans wish the Jews would just shut up and do as Caesar said. The day Jesus rode on the donkey into the city of Jerusalem was the day designated to choose the lamb. They didn’t know this, but Jesus’ ride into town on the donkey was His way of offering himself as the lamb.
So here Jesus comes riding on a donkey. People lay down their cloaks in front of him and start saying “Hosanna! Hosanna!” By this time, many Jews believed Jesus to be the military answer to their afflictions under the Romans. Their praise was heartfelt but behind that was a yearning for Judea to be restored. The palm branches they waved were the symbol on Jewish money the last time they were self ruled. Waving and shouting was a deliberate slap in the Romans faces. The Jews wanted everyone to know that their time had expired. Finally they were going to be free.
In Luke 19:42, Jesus looks around to the crowd and starts to weep. In the Hebrew it says he wept out loud. Then Jesus says something that rocked me to my core. “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace–but now it is hidden from your eyes.” He looked at the faces of His people and the desperate need for freedom and knew they didn’t get it. They didn’t understand that bringing down the Romans wouldn’t bring them peace.
And all at once I could see Jesus looking down at me crying, trying to get me to understand, and saying “If you only knew what would bring you peace.” None of the stuff I have been stressing over will. None of that will give me satisfaction, but I lost sight of the giver and just wanted the gifts.