This shadow cross is a closeup of the cross on the wall in my cross and shadow image posted on May 14, 2022.
It is interesting how close the cross is to the palm tree. Wasn’t the crucifixion of Christ close on the heels of the day crowds waved palm branches and shouted hosanna? Life has highs and lows. There are days of celebration and days of rejection. Days of praise and days of pain.
Jesus successfully moved through praise and pain because his eyes and heart were fixed on His Father’s purpose. Because he knew and surrendered to God’s purpose he transformed a negative experience into a positive victory. A steady focus on God’s purpose for us can keep us balanced in times of praise and resolute in pain.
The story of Joseph illustrates how seeing God’s purpose helped him forgive, comfort, and love his brothers who sold him into slavery. When Jospeh saw his brothers standing before him in fear, “Joseph said to them, ‘Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? 20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. 21 So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.’ Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.” (Gen. 50:19-21. ESV)
Have you experienced praise and pain from the same people? How would focusing and surrendering to God’s purpose help you turn the negative experience into a positive?
Romans 8:28 (ESV): And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
We can design a garden area, and plant seeds in the ground, but then away from human sight; God allows the seed to live again and burst out of the ground to bring forth beautiful flowers in a dizzying array of colors.
We can plant seeds of love, wisdom, and truth, in the minds of students, children, friends and even enemies. But it takes God to make the deposits we sow into their lives, grow and make the world beautiful with love, wisdom, grace, and truth. If you see a person devoid of love, drop seeds of courtesy, kindness, and love into their life. Then pray for them. In time love may grow in once barren fields.
One person like one duck can make far reaching ripples. In the words of Marian Wright Edelman, “If you don’t like the world the way it is, YOU change it. YOU have an obligation to change it. You just do it one step at a time!” Make some ripples.