Jen’s Gem: Be transformed by God’s love for you.
I awoke before dawn this morning, ready to start my day. I assembled my children’s Easter baskets with their favorite candies and jelly beans, while sipping my coffee. A ham is in the refrigerator along with some side dishes. “Business as usual” on the outside, yet it’s far from it.
Millions of families will celebrate Easter via Zoom meetings this year. Hugs will be limited to virtual outstretches of arms and meals will be shared over the internet instead of around the dining room table. Our world has been turned upside down these past weeks and “normal” is a word that has escaped our vocabulary.
Yet, through all of the changes, perhaps chaos, one theme has emerged. Transformation. Whether it’s the closets in our homes, where and how we work, how our kids are learning, each has been pulled up out of its complacency, shaken up, and is emerging as something completely different. Even trips to the grocery store, a once mundane task, have been re-arranged.
The image that’s coming to my mind is that of a chrysalis – a butterfly’s state of being before it emerges victoriously to live out its life fluttering here and there. These past weeks, each of us has been transformed in some fashion and will emerge completely different, some of us unrecognizable, just like the butterfly.
Perhaps we will be less hurried and distracted with shorter to-do lists. Maybe, with our homes cleared out, we will have more time for family and friends. Whatever the changes are, it’s not likely we will forget this time when the whole world seemed to stop in its tracks.
I suspect this is how the apostles must’ve felt on this day 2000 years ago when they awoke to the news that their friend and teacher, Jesus, rose from the dead. Devastated over His death just a few days prior, they holed themselves up in a room, out of the watchful eye of their enemies, wondering what to do.
Clearly they could not return to normal as they had been forever changed by Jesus’ teachings and miracles, which they’d witnessed over the past three or so years. Their lives were turned upside down as each left families and home towns to follow Jesus. How could they simply go back home and not be impacted by their experience?
In Romans 12:2, we are advised to “not be conformed to this world.” In other words, don’t get too comfy cozy with the stuff you see here – it doesn’t last. Each of us has seen this firsthand lately as our everyday lives have been impacted in some way.
The second part of that Scriptures tells us what we should be doing instead. “But be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Be transformed. Renew your mind. I believe that we are all being called to change our old ways of doing things, of thinking, so that we can align ourselves with what God’s purpose is for each of us.
Jeremiah 29:11 says “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” God’s thoughts about us are ones of peace, joy, blessings, and love. I don’t know about you, but those thoughts sure sound a lot better than some of the ones that creep into my brain from time to time!
I can’t help but wonder what our new world would look like if we all began to think like God thinks. I wonder how relationships would be restored. I wonder how we would treat each other. I wonder how our own lives would become more peaceful and purposeful if we began to think of ourselves the way God thinks of us.
From the first pages of the Bible to the last – it’s crystal clear how God thinks of us. He loves us with a love that none of us can comprehend. We can’t fathom it because it doesn’t exist here. The people who followed Jesus however, got a glimpse of it – that’s why His death was so devastating and His resurrection so profound.
As they witnessed the risen Jesus, talked with Him, ate with Him, even touched Him, they knew their lives would never be the same. As Jesus was transformed from death to life, so too were they transformed forever.
This is what Easter is all about. Transformation. Something old becomes something new. Something dead becomes alive. How will you be transformed today or even when this mess is over? What will you do differently? How will your thoughts and actions change? Who will you become?
Our Father in heaven is calling each of us to be transformed. He’s waiting to help us become all He destined and planned for us to be. We can begin today.
I pray God’s blessings on you and your loved ones as you celebrate Easter. I pray that as you go through your day that you experience His unconditional love and that you be transformed because of it. I know I have been and I’ll never be the same again.