Eliza Jane Giselbach, born a week-and-a-half ago is the best thing that’s happened to this Mammy during the pandemic, for sure. She’s also the catalyst for lots of lost sleep, more than a few episodes of over-excitement in her siblings, and searches for pandemic-safe outlets for kids who are making way too much racket for a mom (and mammy) who are over their heads in unpacking from a move, laundry, cooking and just adjusting to life with a newborn, once again.
While watching Chitty Chitty Bang Bang with them, Ezra asked if we could ever really get a car that could fly. After hearing various speculations around the room about the unlikelihood of that happening during our lifetimes, Ezra said this: “…But we are going to fly—just by ourselves—when Jesus comes to get us. We will fly and we will not even need a car or a plane or anything.”
I Corinthians 15 explains to us the very serious nature of his little five-year-old statement. Everything we are and do and every hope that anchors us is founded in the fact that the resurrection from the dead happened in that garden outside Jerusalem 2000 years ago, facilitating His own flight back to the Father; and that the resurrection and ascension will happen again for you and me. That all-encompassing thesis for the lives of all Christians, in fact, is the driving force for all the things we’ve done in the craziness of welcoming Eliza Jane into that household. Papa and I held those wee hands several times during the day of her birth and prayed for her safety and her life in the Lord. We held them again after her safe delivery and thanked Him for their new little sister. We prayed that she would grow up to be a strong and faithful force for good in the Kingdom. Every night before they climb into their beds in that little nursery, we say our books of the Bible, spend time in a Bible account with them and listen to them talk to God. They pray about Baxter, the cat, with the same ardor that they pray for Eliza, at this point, But our whole purpose in these times around the Word is their emergence in, at last and for all time, knowing the difference between things that are temporal and things that are eternal—people who will be raised and things that will not. Every mealtime prayer, every Bible time, every worship assembly, every invitation to neighbors to visit our services, every card of encouragement, every prayer for a lost one, every blog-post, every speaking appointment, every spanking, every ethical discussion and decision, every meal prepared or instance of hospitality offered—every one— is woven into the fiber of life that comes from being certain that He walked away from the tomb.
But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.
But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead (I Cor. 15:13-20).
IN FACT. Those two words about the resurrection are the crux of most of what I will do today. I’m so thankful for the resurrection and for the purpose, hope and certainty it brings to every day of my life. What appears to be chaotic in the moments of a Christian’s life is not really chaotic at all. Even the stressful and sleepless times are purposeful. Even the inevitable moments when we fall to temptation are of value when we right the wrongs and learn from the failures. It’s profound to ponder that something empty in Jerusalem 2000 years ago is making my life full and purposeful still today. Something that shook the earth, then, has given me something unshakeable. Praise God today for the resurrection!
And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it (Matthew 28:2).
Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe… (Heb. 12:28).
And praise Him that, leaving our own tombs, we will fly…without a car or a plane or anything!