Pointing to Jesus

  • March 29, 2013
  • #8065

Good Friday is a time to think about the cross. And those thoughts can be of great encouragement if you feel your cross is becoming a little too heavy to carry.

Hi, I’m Joni with an encouraging word on this Good Friday.

Good Friday is a time to reflect on and remember the goodness of God toward us: Christ suffered that we might have … salvation! And that’s a good word to pass along. And I'm doing that today. You see, by my office telephone, I keep a list of people to call — people who are in chronic conditions, often living alone or in need of encouragement. People who need to remember the goodness of God in their lives and all that Jesus sacrificed on their behalf. Now, I used to post this “people to call” list for, you know, just ‘something to do’ when I had a free moment in between appointments or dictating. But after a few of these telephone calls, my reasons changed; I keep the list for my own encouragement. Because when I find myself rushing ahead, operating on automatic energy rather than the grace of God; when I don’t take time in the day to stop and pause and think of what Jesus did on the cross for me, well, I know it’s time to push aside my work, read a few Scriptures, take a deep breath, and then pass on that same encouragement to someone else. And usually it’s my cue to move to the phone and dial the number of someone in need. Somehow, some way, when I hear that voice on the other end, when scriptures are shared, or I sing a hymn over the telephone lines, my speed slows down.

It happened the other day when I called Bruce. His need came to me from our Response Department at Joni and Friends and he’s new to his wheelchair. Bruce was a construction worker, and on a weekend off, he sustained a serious spinal cord injury on his motorcycle; it left him paralyzed. Over time, he lost his job and his wife recently filed for divorce. Bruce’s voice sounded tired from all the stuff he’d been through. We talked slowly, leaving lots of quiet spaces in between our sentences. As his heart quickened, though, my heart, thankfully, slowed — soon our heartbeats matched each other’s as we reflected on and sang about our mutual love for Jesus. By the time we ended our conversation, Bruce and I both agreed: as the book of Hebrews says, neither of us has suffered to the point of shedding blood like Jesus did on his cross. And the more we talked about what Christ did at Calvary, the brighter our conversation was until we both said goodbye on what was, indeed, a happy note.

Often, when people are going through tough times, like my friend Bruce, it is helpful to reflect on the sufferings of someone else — especially when that someone suffered to give you hope and a home in heaven. People like Bruce who are struggling and suffering so much loss … they don't want a lot of words; they want The Word, the Word made flesh who felt the pang of suffering. He is the one who, as I said to Bruce, holds all the answers in His hands. By the way, I'll tell you something else I mentioned to Bruce. I asked him to go on-line to joniandfriends.org and … “Bruce, you’ve got to do this. Take a look at the Family Retreat video we posted. It is so wonderful. It totally captures the help and hope that, yes, even you with your disability can enjoy at a Family Retreat.” And who knows? Perhaps Bruce and his adult son just might step up and decide to come to a Family Retreat this summer. If you know a special needs family that is hurting right now and needing a reminder of the goodness of God, and all that He’s done for them, tell them to visit our radio page at joniandfriends.org to be blessed by that Family Retreat video, as well. Or go on-line yourself and ask for one of our Family Retreat brochures when you see that video; it’ll be a great way to remind others of God's love for them.

© Joni and Friends 

 

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