April 28, 2011

How are we able to hold fast to our faith? He is Risen!

In the midst of our busy lives, it is easy to be overwhelmed and to feel overcome by difficult circumstance.  For those who strive to pray, Christ risen from the dead allows us to taste this only in order to help us come to spiritual maturity.  He himself comes to give us hope, that we might stand firm and not lose heart.   This is the great spiritual battle of prayer - our victory is assured because Christ rose from the dead and has not abandoned us.   It was along these lines that, to encourage the faithful entrusted to his care, an ancient author once wrote:

"As we have born the image of the earthly man, the image of human nature grown old in sin, so let us bear now the image of the heavenly man: human nature raised up, redeemed, and purified by Christ.  We must hold fast to the salvation we have received."

Christ comes to those who trust in Him, and He is constantly coming in ever new ways.  He is there, risen from the dead, to help us hold fast - enveloping us in his love and establishing us in his truth.  He silent presence knocks on the doors of our hearts.   His voice whispers in the stillness of our prayer.  He gently admonishes the wayward and leaves the proud vexed.  He firmly defends the innocent. He patiently seeks the lost.  He lifts up the lowly.  He lovingly gazes into the eyes of those who hold fast, and gratefully rests in the hearts of the humble.  He speaks of beautiful mysteries that await those who will persevere until the end.  

To be visited by the Lord in this way is not merely to have good feelings or pleasant thoughts.  He who is risen in the flesh to new life offers us heavenly power over everything that seeks to dehumanize us in this present old life.   If someone is trapped in sin - call to Him, for He is the unconquered liberator.  If someone is overwhelmed with sorrow - go to Him, for He is the Consolation of all consolations.  If someone has been unjustly treated - Jesus the King of Righteousness takes up your cause.  If someone is anxious and it seems that death itself overshadows you - fear not for the Prince of Peace is at your side.

Christ is truly risen!  Real power flows from his glorified body and He longs to show us the victory He beholds even now. This is why Easter is the greatest of all feasts ever known - it contains the essence of Christian hope, the secret of true prayer, a glimpse of the victory God yearns to realize in our own lives.   Trust in Him who comes for you - hold fast to the salvation you have received, bear the image of the Heavenly Man - raised up, redeemed, purified by his blood.