(In Loving memory of George Stallings – The Silver Fox)
My heart, my mind, and my soul I give to you. I remember saying these words almost two decades ago as I stared at the litter box and it’s contents all over the floor. It was only a few minutes earlier that I had been yelling at a God I didn’t believe in, and challenged with every ounce of my being. I threw every emotional kick and punch I could muster, masked in every obscenity I could think of. The preceding five years had lead me down a path that I never thought would ever be so dark before in my life. I had dropped out of high school, went to work for a trash company and started on a path of personal indulgence. Before long I had even managed to work my way toward a promising construction career after delivering trash cans for years. Like many, I began to trust in my own strength and ability to simply out work any competitor before me. That was until my indulgences caught up with me. Although it was a slow fade toward a desperate life, it felt like I literally went from making great money to a hopeless and homeless young adult, who’s only mode of making money was the cleaning of a litter box. My life had gone full circle and I finally had to admit to myself that I didn’t have any real answers to my life.
Life is unique in that it is a constant teacher. It teaches about finance, relationships, trust, and meaning. What I discovered was that a life without God is a life that teaches you emptiness. It seems when we don’t have God in our lives, it is full of meaningless stuff and people. We can look for a meaning in money (Look how much), we can look for it in relationships (they complete me), and we can look for it in significance (If I do this, then they will notice). The one thing these all have in common is “EMPTINESS”. This emptiness is always in a close relationship with a hopeless ultimate view in life. The seeking of people, places, and things is utterly exhausting. It seemed like this world is so desperately trying to tear itself apart.
Have you ever felt like this? Have you ever wanted more from life but always came up with a handful of sand? That was my life day after day after day. That was until my surrender was by choice. I chose to rid myself of the emptiness of my life, I chose to rest and remove the exhausting pursuit from life. The essence of Easter was making a life renewed.
The essence of Easter came from a relationship that has radically altered the course and the meaning of my life. The depth of a love I cannot explain and, even through my occasional struggles, an undeniable connection and relationship that words can’t express.
His words are burned on the very fabric of my heart and the reason I am now capable of loving people, who many say are unlovable. I see in them what He sees in them. I see who they could be if they simply lived a life of surrender, a surrender to the one who’s constant and has never once left me.
Some call Him prophet, some call Him crazy, and some call Christ the Messiah! But only one question will matter in the end “Who do you say that I Am?”. The essence of Easter is not about chocolate bunnies and colored eggs, although I think they taste great.
The essence of Easter reached out to me at a litter box where I was forced to confront the excrement of my life face to face. The essence of Easter bears the weight of multiple piercings. The essence of Easter says surrender, forgiveness, and friend. The essence of Easter healed me with a simple, spoken word. He called me son and friend. The Essence of Easter spoke amazingness into life.
Come to me who are weak and weary…… Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth…… Father forgive them for they know not what they do…… Blessed are the suffering for they shall be comforted…….
(Paraphrased from The Bible)
I have had several that challenged my belief in Christ and many of those same people live quiet, empty, desperate lives. I watch them as they claw for position, power, and control. I also watch them cry in their quiet times because they have no peace. Here is one thing I know with absolute certainty, you cannot earn your way to things of peace, joy and fulfillment but you can receive it. We live our life in desperation not because there is no God but because there is no surrender. It’s hard to see the certainty in my eyes by what I have seen and experienced. The unshakeable faith comes from the fruit of one unshakable encounter. You see, no one can steal an encounter with Christ from you because it is incredibly personal and life altering.
The essence of Easter means salvation, freedom, and redemption. There are only five letters that can truly ever spell peace, joy, and freedom: J.E.S.U.S!
Jesus is more than I can even express in words! There is not a single void in my heart or identity that is present. There is only Jesus! As I look out over the mountains, waters, and these successful companies I see, His miracles surround a life that I almost voluntary ended just before I experienced the greatest blessings of my life. The miracle started with surrender and as the hot wave of oil coated my spirit, life has never been the same. There are three steps to experiencing joy to in your life.
- Step 1: Surrender
- Step 2: To
- Step 3: HIM
The essence of Easter will never be found inside a candy wrapper or on a hunt, It was found on a blood soaked cross where every mistake you or I will ever make was pinned to rough sawn timber. While the candy may be good and the hunt may be fun, it doesn’t even come close to being called forgiven and Son.
Thank you, Silver Fox for taking me to the real Jesus!
Happy Easter JP!
In Your Service,