Welcome to the blog of author Marlo Schalesky!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

When All Seems Lost, Let God Roll Away the Stone

Hi Friends,

So, Easter is past and Christ has risen … and what now?  I've been thinking about that this week -- what does it mean that Christ is risen?  What does it mean in my life today?  How does it change everything?

Those are questions so rich, so deep, that I could never cover all the nuances, all the wonder.  So instead, I wanted to share with you some thoughts from my upcoming book, Wrestling with Wonder (excerpt from Ch 15).

This is a bit, a glimpse, a tiny taste, a single aspect, of what the resurrection means to me -- I think you will be encouraged:

Who Is This God?

So who is this God who rises from the dead never to die again? Who is he who transformed death itself? Who is he who calls us to live in the wonder of resurrection, and see our world transformed?
He is the God who makes all things new...
He is the God who transformed the cross. And if he can do it for two rough-hewn pieces of wood, he can do it for you as well. 
Consider the symbol of the cross.
In Mary’s day, it represented horror and death, the worst kind of execution. To the ancient Roman world, it was a symbol of everything awful, bad, terrifying. It was ugly. It meant disgust and destruction. It meant shame and agony and loss. To see a cross was to see a symbol of the worst kind of death possible.
That’s what the cross was ... until Christ transformed it.
Right now, in my jewelry box, I have several sets of cross earrings and necklaces. I don’t wear them to let people know I’m a Christian, I wear them as a reminder of God’s power to transform. 
Because the cross is a perfect picture of how God transforms the ugly into the beautiful. I wouldn’t wear a hangman’s noose or a guillotine or a gilded electric chair. But I do wear crosses. Why? Because God has transformed the cross. 
We use it to decorate our homes. We put it in the front of our churches. It has become a symbol recognized all over the world. And it doesn’t mean death and shame anymore. It means life, salvation, redemption, love, and hope...
And that is a shocking transformation.
If God can do that for the cross, he can do it for you. And he will. He can take the awful things in your life and transform them, too, for his glory. 
Romans 8:28 says that “all things work together for good to those who love God, who have been called according to his purpose.” It doesn’t say that all things that happen are good, but that God can turn the hard things into good. He can make them into a shining testimony of his love and faithfulness. 
But if they are going to be transformed, you must take those difficult, sometimes painful experiences, and offer them to him. You need to come to the tomb, even if you come with trembling, even if you come with tears.
... Will you face the strange, the uncertain, the mystery of the tomb . . . or will you cover over the truth with false platitudes, even if they are ones of God’s “goodness.”  Or will you, afraid, confused, doubting, approach the gravesite, peek inside, and be changed forever?  Come, believe that what Jesus did for the cross, he will do for you. 
The worst things in your life can be transformed into life and beauty. Hear the whisper of angels, “Why do you look for the living among the dead ... He is risen!” And you are raised with him. So even at the tombs of life, God is calling you to live with expectant joy, knowing that he is not dead. Even if you can’t see him, he is on the move, he is working.
Because now, anything, everything, can be transformed by his love.

Let him roll away the stone . . .