Don’t Grow Jaded to the Easter Miracle
Sometimes often-told stories can be so familiar we discount their significance.
This weekend, the Christian world will celebrate Easter. If we aren’t careful we may treat the earth-shattering significance of Christ’s resurrection as another ho-hum event.
Not that there’s anything wrong with sitting down for a dinner of ham and the fixings, or eating some chocolate for dessert.
But we who proclaim to be followers of the Risen Savior sometimes need to remind ourselves that what happened on Golgotha more than 2,000 years ago altered the face of history.
As the old cliché goes: “This changes everything.”
Getting Too Familiar
A man who lives across the street from our church showed up for a mid-week Bible study. He had been coming for several months before disappearing a year ago.
I learned that some health problems had prevented him from attending what had subsequently become his customary place of worship.
Although he was now attending there again regularly, he decided to stop over this Wednesday night to join us.
As we explored the topic at hand, he brought up something not directly related to our discussion, and yet very relevant.
It concerned the amazing story of the five missionaries in 1956 who were martyred by the Waodani tribe.
The incident gained widespread recognition through a bestseller, Through Gates of Splendor, written by Elisabeth Eliot, widow of one of the victims.
After writing about it, she and other family members moved to Ecuador to live among the tribe and teach them the gospel. Among those who accepted Christ was one of the men who had helped spear the victims.
The 2005 film, End of the Spear, brought the long-range story up to date and introduced it to an even wider audience.
I had seen the film and read various accounts of the remarkable Waodani story over the years.
Then, three months ago I got a refresher course by editing some newsletter copy for a client who referred to the incident in a teaching on hidden treasure.
Lost in the Details
I sensed our visitor knew little of this history. He had just read an article recently and didn’t know all the details.
When he referred to one of the victim’s sister moving to Ecuador, I tried to correct him, adding, “And one of the victim’s wives too.”
He either didn’t hear me or was too devoted to telling his story, continuing to relate the details he knew to others in the group.
When he got to the end of his account, the man marveled over the way in which God had worked over several decades, bringing tribal members to Christ through the death of these missionaries that initially appeared so tragic.
“Look at what God did,” he said with awe in his voice.
See the Miracle
That’s when it hit me: my familiarity with the story had given me a rather jaded view of its miraculousness.
Jim Eliot? Sure, he’s the guy who died in 1956 along with four other missionaries. Yeah, their family moved to the jungle and led a bunch of people to salvation. Cool, huh?
Only I didn’t think it was that cool. It had turned into just another story, one that—being so informed—I knew from beginning to end.
This eye-opening experience humbled me while giving me a new appreciation for Psalm 116:15: “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints” (NKJV).
That’s what we celebrate this week: the life of the Savior who gave His life so that we could live forever. Let us never grow so familiar with the story that we fail to appreciate its wonder.