A strange definition of “perfect”

The young boy was a runaway with nothing but the thin overalls he wore. No shirt under the overalls. No shoes. No food. No money. No destination except freedom from his pursuers.

The only good thing about his circumstances was that he had a friend traveling with him. This friend was not a same-age buddy also on the run, also suffering from a lack of resources. No; he was a guide and an advocate who not only offered hope, but also had the means of helping the boy find a practical solution to his problem.

Rested after a night’s sleep in the arms of his friend, and grinning from ear to ear over a breakfast of apples from a tree, the boy told his able friend, “Now we’re together, and life is perfect.”

That statement, “life is perfect,” certainly is intriguing when you consider the boy’s present plight and poverty. But, it makes a little more sense when you know that the situation he had run from was much worse. To him, the freedom he now had, as uncertain as it was, was “perfect” in comparison to where he had been.

Our true and pressing needs are not to be diminished, though many of us sometimes complain about minor things in addition to worrying about major things. Might it be helpful to check our general attitude against the story of a runaway child who, after escaping the worst oppression he had ever known, was immensely grateful for what would look at first glance like terrible poverty?

The family that worked young Pete like a slave bought him for $50 from an orphanage. Pete’s friend and helper was a real dragon that everyone but Pete thought was imaginary. The movie is Pete’s Dragon (1977). Worth mention are enjoyable performances by Mickey Rooney, Helen Reddy, Red Buttons, Shelley Winters – and Jim Dale (who narrated those cute Angel Soft commercials and performed all of the Harry Potter audiobooks).

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Elliott, Pete’s animated dragon friend in the movie, has magical abilities. He can fly, turn himself invisible, and communicate verbally with human beings (even though his own speech is a bit muffled and mumbled).

Once Elliott the dragon has connected Pete with an adoptive family, he leaves Pete in order to go help another child who needs an advocate. “I won’t ever see you again, will I?” Pete asks with tears in his eyes. It is a bittersweet parting.

The worst oppression we experience, whether it feels that way or not, is being a slave to sin. Jesus Christ, our Friend and Advocate, not only offers hope, but also has the goal and the power to help us find the remedy for sin and to meet our material needs (see Matthew 6:25-33).  And He doesn’t have to leave us in order to go help someone else.

Pete says to Elliott in one of the songs, “I’m glad I don’t have to be alone.” In Christ we don’t have to be alone, or poor, or lost, or aimless. Consider your own emotions at a low or self-pitying point, or the feelings of someone you know:

Feeling alone? Matthew 28:20, Hebrews 13:5
Feeling poor? Ephesians 1:3, Colossians 2:10, Ephesians 3:8
Feeling lost? John 10:27-29, Isaiah 40:11
Feeling aimless? Matthew 28:19-20, 2 Corinthians 5:20

 

Easter Monday

It is Easter Monday. Tomorrow will be Easter Tuesday and then Easter Wednesday and then…. well, you get the point. For those who believe in and follow Jesus Christ, everyday is Easter Sunday. God’s power that resurrected Jesus on Sunday is still at work on Easter Monday.

Easter Monday, when the laundry piles too high.

Easter Monday, when the seven year old wakes up uncontrollably grouchy and you lose your temper, returning her bad attitude in kind.

Easter Monday, when you fought with your best friend of a husband the night before and you think, “Again? I thought we were over this!” And your heart hurts with the pattern on repeat.

Easter Monday morning, with a week full of appointments, meals to cook, counters to wipe, unbelievably sticky floors to mop, and hours of picking up and you think, “Is this what my day is about? It never seems to end.”

Easter Monday, when sticky floors make you angrier than they should.

Easter Monday, when Scripture reminds…

Control yourselves and be careful! The devil, your enemy, goes around like a roaring lion looking for someone to eat. (1 Peter 5:8)

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. (1 Peter 2:24-25)

At some point on Easter Monday, the reality sets in. Difficulties, frustrations, and trials were not crucified on Friday and a carefree life resurrected in it’s place on Sunday. On this, the day after Easter, the world looks like, well…. the world. Tedious work, tempers, illness, old temptations, encountering others whose hearts are bent on destroying. Even death happens on this Monday after Easter. You are tempted to believe the power and hope proclaimed on Sunday, is rendered ineffective and lifeless today.

Then Scripture reminds…

I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 1:18-20)

morlandthelivesOn this Resurrection Monday, Jesus is seated in heaven, all accomplished. The fact that, yesterday, He conquered death means that today He can conquer my bad attitude. He can destroy those patterns of thinking and behaving and sinning that break relationship with those I love. Are the, seemingly, insurmountable obstacles on this Monday after Easter really greater than death itself? Simply, NO.

The God who raised His Son after three days in death’s chamber can be trusted to give joy and purpose in the most tedious of tasks.  Work that, when done unto Him, with a thankful heart turns beautiful in its rhythm. This God of Easter restores brokenness, redeems those things the world would like to destroy, and equips us to face life’s challenges each day. This God of Easter is not just for Easter Sunday.

His resurrection power gives new eyes to see the blessings alongside the trials. Outside, I see azaleas and dogwoods and a new bright green that almost burns my eyes after a long winter. From where does this beauty come?

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (James 1:17)

Beside this weary world is the whisper of a Savior who crushed Satan’s head on the cross (Genesis 3:15). While, for a time, the world moves forward in it’s sinful, broken state, His resurrection power is still working, transforming, and creating alongside the stench of a dying world. He is working miracles. Often, these miracles are in the transformed hearts of those who follow Him. Thankfully, I am not the same person I was last Easter. He is progressively changing my heart of worry to a heart of trust.

Because Scripture reminds, I will …

fix my eyes on Jesus , the author and perfector of my faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. I will consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that I will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:2-3

Every day is Easter for those who believe in and follow Jesus Christ. We are not yet allowed to see His physical resurrected body but, between Easter Sunday and the unknown future when He comes again, we are given His power, His joy, and His hope. We are called to transform and infuse this broken world with His goodness and grace. I will pray to do just that today, Easter Monday, even as I mop the dirty floor and fold the endless laundry. I will not lose heart.

As Scripture reminds…

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:8-9)

Sarah, a native Texan, now lives in Birmingham AL with her husband and four children.  A licensed speech therapist, she now manages her home full-time.  With a cup of coffee by her side, Sarah writes about mothering, disability, and God’s good purpose in the lives of His children. You can follow her blog at www.morlandt.blogspot.com