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WORD FROM THE CENTER: MONDAY, APRIL 20, 2020

Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections on His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s verse is John 20:29, where the Bible says,  

Jesus said to [thomas], “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

SOME QUESTIONS NEED A RISEN SAVIOR’S ANSWER!


This might be the year that we can see it happening! Our team is “going all the way.” That’s typically a springtime mantra for many fans around the country. Usually about now, people who love baseball are entering a new season. It is a moment when the hopes of fans and the team are one. And, most of all, their common expectations are at a feverish “pitch.” Well, that’s if everything is going as planned. That’s if we have the right players and everyone is healthy. That’s if there’s not a worldwide pandemic threatening the very health and economic well-being of Americans and people all around the world. “Play ball?” No, stay home! “Root, root, root for the home team?” Instead, pray that we come together as a nation because we are all under real duress!

Yes, usually this time of year we are talking about fun “cliffhangers,” debating silly things like baseball games, the NBA playoffs, and even whether May showers will really bring April flowers. But this year we’re probably wondering about a virus and whether the world can survive the response. This is one of those cliffhangers that really matters. This is one of those moments when you begin to realize that our technologies and drugs can’t always save us from tragedy; many times our governments and leaders can’t or even won’t protect their people first. At times like that, what do we do?

Vital “cliffhanger” questions need answers. When Jesus died on the cross on Good Friday, the greatest cliffhanger in the world occurred. Was that the end for Him, for His disciples, for us? Would sin overwhelm our Savior? Would eternal life be reduced to wishful thinking? Would His disciples live in fear that the religious leaders and the Roman authorities might target them next? Thomas wanted to see the risen Jesus for his answer. The doubts of Thomas are much like ours. There are moments in our lives when, even with all our preparation, effort, and expense, we don’t know what’s going to happen. And there are even scarier times when that kind of crisis occurs amidst our lack of preparation or the absence of our due diligence.  

When those cliffhanger questions arise, the Bible teaches us that, above and beyond our technologies or politics, FAITH is the vital answer. And this faith isn’t in ourselves or our ability, wealth, or stature. No, it’s our FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST. That’s the kind of faith which “is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). Such a faith gives certainty regarding the eternal things that ultimately matter.

In the midst of all the challenges that we did or didn’t see coming in this world, the Savior of the cross and the empty tomb is one that not only draws our attention, but summons our trust because He cares for us now and forever. Silly cliffhangers? We can handle those. But when it comes to cliffhangers about life itself—viruses, surgeries, or losing loved ones—the key is to bring one’s doubts, challenges, and fears to God. He can turn those odds around to bring lasting victory and an eternal celebration even amidst the enduring challenges of the day. That’s an empty tomb, risen Savior answer to the overwhelming challenges of life; believe it!

PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for overcoming the greatest opponents which stood against our life with You, sin, death, and the devil himself. Thank You for answering the cliffhanger of the cross with the reality of Your resurrection and the certainty of our eternal life with You because of Your life, death, and resurrection for us. Strengthen our faith in You today and always. AMEN.

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