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by Mackenzie Shaver on December 14, 2015
“In this world, you will have trouble. But take HEART! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Lately, this has been a sort of mantra in my life. In October of 2013, my life was flipped upside down. That was when we noticed something was not quite right with the most important woman in my life- my mom. I grew up with the most wonderful and loving mother a girl could ever dream of and I consider myself so blessed by her. However, a hard battle with brain cancer seemed to be winning. Darkness looked like it was ruling the day and I was scared. That was when I started questioning God. I started asking, “Why her? Why now? How could you let this happen?” I was convinced this wasn’t fair. Slowly, He began to show me that He loved her more than I ever could. He began to show me that her cancer was part of a much bigger story that He was writing. Even though I don’t know how it will affect the rest of the story, I am sure of two major things. First, I know that He, the Creator of the universe, the King of Kings, loved my mom so much that His Son came to this earth, as a meek child, and died on a cross for her. For me. For you.
On March 28, 2015, my mom took her last breath on this earth—but her first in Heaven. I will never forget walking into the hospital that night, eyes puffy and red from tears, when my younger brother looked up at me and said, “Emmy, why are you crying? Mom is with JESUS!” Some would look at that and think, wait, darkness did win. But you know what? It didn’t. That’s the second thing I know about this story. He wins. He defeats death and allows His children to come back to Him forever. Our God won because He beat death and overcame the world. My mom was in Heaven dancing and singing with JESUS. She wasn’t there because she did something great, or because she deserved it. She was there because of the baby who came to earth and was born in a lowly manger – the God who came to die.
As He walked this earth, He promised us that He has overcome this deep dark world. As I mentioned before, I was scared. I was scared of darkness. I was scared of death. I was scared to live life without my mom. Like a little child scared of their dark bedroom and crying out for their father, I did the same. I sat, scared of the dark, and called out to the only good and perfect Father there ever has been and ever will be. And you know what? He came. He is alive and present, even in the moments of terror and fear where it seems impossible for Him to be working.
If there is one thing I have learned, it is that He is always working. In you, in me, in that person on our soccer team, in that coworker who is hard to love, in the bedridden woman who has cancer, in the 3 year old, in the 98 year old. He is constantly moving in the lives of His children. There are no moments of neutrality. He, the Creator of the universe, the King of Kings, cares for you and is always working in you. He promises never to leave or forsake us. He promises to be with us always. He promises He has overcome this nasty, painful, scary, and dark place called Earth. And want to know the best part? He will return so that we can be with Him forever.
So my challenge to you, wherever you are is this: sit and think about the weight of the Cross. The weight of the little baby in the manger who came to live perfectly because we could not. The weight of the fact that those who believe in Him will get to spend eternity in Heaven just like my mom. Take a moment to truly reflect on that and walk in the victory that He has overcome this world. I promise, you will never see life the same.
In 1 Corinthians 11, Paul speaks to the people of Corinth about the importance of the sacrifice of Jesus and the representation of communion. At the end of his explanation, He urges them to “never let familiarity breed contempt” (Message version). What He is saying here is that we should never let the knowledge and awareness of Christ’s death lead us to a place of forgetfulness or disregard. We should never come to a place where we forget the incredible gift of Christ’s life and death.
So, friends, may we be a people who do not let the familiarity of Christ bring us to forget the wonder of the Cross and the glory of Christ. Let us not forget the two most important pieces of His story: that Jesus came to Earth to die on our behalf (2 Corinthians 5:21) and not only that, but He also defeated death and is coming back for His children as He promised (1 John 5:1-5; Matthew 24:29-31).
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