Last week at our church, our pastor did something a little unusual. He handed out a list of prayer needs regarding people in our congregation and their loved ones.
My church isn’t huge; we run around 400 on an average Sunday. But I looked at the typed pages in my hand and felt a little overwhelmed.
Cancer. Shoulder injuries. Autoimmune disease. Back and neck issues. Neurological disorders. Diabetes. Depression.
That’s not even all the categories, nor was every need of our congregation on the list.
So much need. So much brokenness and frailty. So much death at work in our bodies and souls.
Which is why I find it ironic when I hear the grandiose claims of secular humanism and the new spirituality — claims that we are getting better and better every day and in every way, that we have life by the tail and we are all that.
Are we really?
Pastor and author Matt Chandler points out that the very strongest human being on the planet still needs to sleep away a third of his life just to feel good enough to carry out the other two thirds.
Truth is, we are profoundly weak. We are needy. We lack many of the answers that we seek.
That’s where hope comes in. Not hope as in, “I hope it will work out somehow,” but hope as in the sidekick of faith — faith in an all-powerful, loving God.
My human weakness is a helpful sign post which points me to Someone stronger than me.
That Someone took all our infirmity on Himself when He suffered the thirty-nine lashes. Then He shouldered a cruel cross and dragged it down the road to the spot where He would be executed.
Why? Because we do not have the strength to face our own sin, let alone pay for it.
And although God has given us the understanding for certain medical advances, we are still desperate for many physical cures as well.
We are weak — yet in the long run, that’s a good thing.
Listen to the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9:
… He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ reminds me of this critical truth — that life is not about me getting my act together or coming up with a better self-improvement plan.
It’s about dependence on the One who has conquered the grave, along with every smaller kind of death that infects this tainted planet.
Harsh words. Selling children into slavery. Abusing alcohol. Nursing bitterness. Suffering from sickness and disease.
In a thousand ways, death toys with us. Oh, how we need resurrection.
And oh, what good news that Jesus has made this possible! Jesus alone offers freedom from death — on every level.
I told you about the prayer list at church. Now here’s the rest of the story.
For the previous couple of weeks, we’ve been showing video clips of people holding signs testifying to what God has done in their lives.
Forgiveness. Freedom from addiction. Paying off massive debt. Accepted and loved, no longer rejected. Freedom from the slavery of selfishness. Depression turned to joy.
Cancer goes away. A paraplegic walks. Hearing is restored.
That’s why, when I saw the prayer list, I said I was only a little overwhelmed.
We’ve already seen what God can do. We’ve tasted of His resurrection power. And we know there is so much more to come in eternity.
This year on Resurrection Sunday, I look forward to celebrating my hope in the One who killed death once and for all. You, too?
Susanne Maynes is a certified Biblical Counselor and author. Read more at www.SusanneMaynes.com. She is a member of Samaritan Ministries International, one of the leading health care sharing ministries in America.