As my wife and I were sitting on our deck late yesterday afternoon, I leaned back in my chair and asked her, “Do you hear that?” For it sounded just like the wind as it blew through the tops of the trees in the Plumas National Forest were we had vacationed many times before, during and after our kids grew up and moved out into their own lives, with family adventures of their own! It was almost like a surreal experience as we were enjoying the warmth of the early spring weather after a busy day of mowing the back forty, removing the pile of branches I had clipped after the winter ice storm a few months back, and washing Piper’s hair!
We have taken to sitting out on the deck on many occasions as a reprieve before I need to go in and start up the dinner activities. Last night I sat with notebook and pen in hand and sketched our first planting plan for our backyard. I had begun the process a few days earlier when I ordered a Brown Turkey Fig tree along with a dwarf Colette Everbearing Pear as well. Both these trees are different than any I had heard of in California and are better suited for our weather out here. Our future plantings also include a Braeburn Apple, a Santa Rosa Plum and the possibility of a peach for the front yard.
It is interesting as I discovered that the online nursery I ordered the first two trees from, which is based in Missouri, worked closely with Luther Burbank at the turn of the 20th century. In fact Burbank gave this particular nursery his patents for hundreds of his varietals before his passing. And if you know your horticultural history, Luther Burbank lived in our old home town of Santa Rosa, California with test farms in both Santa Rosa and the neighboring town of Sebastopol.
So… what does this have to do with today’s post? Well… nothing really except, as we sat on the deck yesterday we also talked about the celebration of Easter coming up in a day or two. It had dawned on me that I hadn’t even remembered that it was almost here! We had made no plans and took a few moments right then and there asking Papa God to show us how He wanted us to celebrate the remembrance of the greatest event in history.
During my bible study this morning I was reading from Philippians in combination with the new commentary on the book I had purchased a few days ago, when something caught my attention. The author of the commentary was talking about all the physical trials and tribulations that Paul went through in order to get to Rome. He wrote that “To many, all this would have looked like a failure, but not to this man with a ‘single mind’ concerned with sharing Christ and the gospel.” (Be Joyful, chapter 3 by Warren Wiersbe)
That statement brought back many similar memories of us being chastised for some of the things that we went through as we followed the Lord’s directions for us. But to us these things that others considered as dismal “failures” we saw as opportunities to share the many victories that the Father brought our way as we pushed through the tough times, learned our lessons and moved on.
Then it dawned on me concerning our celebration of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection this year that what some saw as His “defeat” at Calvary was actually man’s greatest “victory!” I literally got goose bumps this morning as I flipped over to the book of Revelation and read what Jesus told the Apostle John at the beginning of his vision on the isle of Patmos… which to many looked to be another place of failure for John’s ministry! – but look at the wealth of revelation and insight that this ‘failure’ has given the world! In Revelation 1:18 John relates of how Jesus “laid his right hand on me and said, ‘Don’t be afraid! I am the first and the last, the living one. I was dead, but now I am alive forever. I have the keys of death and hell.” (God’s Word ©)
Jesus’ experience at Calvary changed the course of life as it was known up to that point in time! Suddenly all mankind had a path to heaven and a chance for eternal life… if they accept and confess Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and Lord. Now that is something to celebrate this Easter weekend… wouldn’t you agree! That is definitely something to shout from the mountain tops! For Jesus now holds the keys to life and death in the palm of His hand.
The Chief priest and religious leaders of His day thought that they had finally silenced Jesus, but little did they realize how wrong they were! That day, on that hilltop where many only saw failure, the hosts of Heaven were rejoicing for Papa God’s plan of the salvation for the world was finally coming to a glorious conclusion… and the world would never be the same again!
So… maybe this year’s celebration of Easter is to be a focus on how what some may have termed as “failures” in your life can instead be the cause for some of the greatest “victories” that you will experience as you walk daily for Him. I believe that in His love and overwhelming grace for us, that this is exactly how Papa God looks at our lives. Therefore don’t be so fast to term things as failures, but quick to turn to Him and ask what you can learn from these events and boldly move on to the next assignment He has for you.
So… take some time this weekend to celebrate Jesus’ victory, your victories in and through Him, and in sharing His possibilities with others! And as you do, keep asking yourself… “What Victories am I expecting to celebrate and share today?”