This weekend Christians across the world will celebrate Easter and the resurrection of Jesus. Of course, there is no Resurrection without the Passion. The term for Passion, in this case, comes from the Greek work meaning ‘to suffer’. In other words, there would be no Easter Triumph without Friday’s Tragedy.
Have you ever wondered how the same word, ‘passion’, can be used in such opposite ways? We normally think of passion as “extreme, compelling emotion or intense emotional drive” (according to Webster). Passion as an emotion seems to drive us. Passion as suffering seems to grind us to a halt. Most of us want to live with more passion (as an emotion), but few of us want more suffering in our lives.
This made me think about the role that Satan plays in all of this. Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10). Satan is intent on stealing your passion for life and replacing it with the passion of suffering. I used to be surprised, even dismayed, at how successful he is at doing that to us.
But there is a much bigger principle at play. Or as we read in The Chronicles of Narnia, there is deeper magic from before the dawn of time that the evil one overlooked. If a sinless, willing victim is sacrificed in the place of someone guilty of sin, death itself would be reversed and tragedy would be turned to triumph.
Satan may be clever, but he is not particularly bright. He keeps overplaying his hand. He continues in his effort to create suffering, imagining that he has thwarted God’s plans. But for those who trust, God always turns tragedy into triumph. “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28).
Don’t forget that Satan tried more than once to steal the passion from the Christ. Just look at his failed efforts to tempt Jesus. When that didn’t work, he manufactured the passion of the Christ. But if there was no suffering on Friday, there would have been no resurrection. And the rest is history, as they say. History has shown that the purposes of God, rather than being thwarted, were actually fulfilled in the death of Jesus at the cross.
Fast forward to my family’s recent tragedy. Our loss of Elijah is a passion of suffering that seems overwhelming. But looking back, I notice how passionate Elijah was for God. He texted his girlfriend Madison, saying “Someday they will read about me in the history books. Well, books probably won’t be a thing, but they will read about me in the virtual history books 🙂 ” Then he shared John 3:16 with Madison. Satan couldn’t steal Elijah’s passion for God and for life. So he injected the passion of suffering.
God gave both Elijah and me separate visions of him reaching millions for the Lord. Now he is gone, and I wonder if Satan thinks he has thwarted God’s plans for Elijah. But I am seeing God’s triumph working out of our terrible tragedy. Since you are reading this post, you are one of more than fifteen thousand visits to this blog site over the past two months. Elijah’s Facebook page, Divine Fingerprints, has already reached over half a million!
I don’t know what the history books will say. I continue just to trust God to work out his promises. And I hold to the same scripture that was one of Elijah’s favorites:
“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (2 Corinthians 4:17).
How will history record your passion?
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This is a hard thing to think about. My passion will not be in history books, I hope for a memory. Opening our hearts to all, helping as many, smile for everyone. I believe that God puts us where we are needed, whether it is getting gas or working. It is important to keep your head up and eyes truly open to those who yout can help.