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Archive for April, 2012

Passion Weekend took on new significance for me this year.  An April baby, I’ve always enjoyed the spring season and  all things Easter.  Occasionally my birthday even falls on one of the springtime holidays, which is especially nice.

This year my birthday coincided with Good Friday, and I felt uniquely blessed to be celebrating my life and Christ’s death simultaneously.

But on “Maundy Thursday” as the world geared up to observe the occasion of His crucifixion – the ultimate sacrifice of love – I was being admitted into the hospital for emergency gall bladder surgery.  My plans for a nice family holiday weekend got pushed aside to make way for IV antibiotics and pain meds.

Please don’t assume that I was disappointed.  In fact, quite the contrary!  I had been in pain for months and had endured multiple diagnostic procedures while waiting for someone on my healthcare team to pull the surgery trigger so that I could finally get some relief.  So my Good Friday surgery was a GREAT birthday gift because there was light at the end of a long and tiring tunnel.

As I came awake in the recovery room, a familiar smile from an old church friend I hadn’t seen in a long time welcomed me back into the land of the living.  She was on the surgical nursing team and had been watching for signs of my arousal so that she could greet me and wish me a “Happy Birthday”.  She grasped my hand and led me in our own private, Good Friday prayer to our Lord, thanking Him for a successful surgery AND for His ultimate Easter sacrifice.

It was a beautiful, touching moment… the beginning of an understanding of the deeper significance of this entire experience – including its unique and special “Passion Weekend” timing.

Later that same afternoon, my curiosity won over my squeamishness and I finally took a good, long look at the surgical incisions… four small holes in my abdomen and right side.  A flash of scripture describing Jesus’ wounded side came to mind, and I shuddered with the realization that, while my scars were meant to restore my health, His were inflicted to bring about His death.  Mine were carefully and skillfully placed by caring, trained hands – His were quickly and violently executed by an angry mob of soldiers and sinners.

In fact the only similarity between Jesus’ wounded side and mine was this: We both chose them.  I was more than happy to comply when the doctors recommended surgery, because I knew it was a means to a better end.  And, ironically, Jesus was also more than happy to comply when his Father asked him to accept the cross, because He knew it was also a means to a much better end – for all mankind.

Because He took those wounds willingly, I am born again.  Because He said “Yes” to the violent mob, I am forgiven of all my sins.  Because He died and rose again on that beautiful Easter Sunday, I can walk with Him in this life and also in the life that comes After.

Humble doesn’t even begin to describe my feelings now when I look at my surgical incisions and realize what He did for me.

Many at our church were amazed that I was able to attend the special Easter Sunday service just two days after my surgery.  I got a lot of surprised looks as friends told me how impressed they were that I was up and around so soon.

But honestly, humbly… it was the very least that I could do.  In the shadow of the Cross, knowing what He endured – willingly – I wouldn’t have missed that church service for anything!

And from now on, anytime I look down and see the fading scars of my surgical incisions I will look on them as a gift – a tangible reminder of the best Good Friday ever.

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