“Thank you Jesus for sacrificing yourself on the cross for us. Thank you for allowing us to celebrate Easter on Sunday.” We were in the midst of a time of corporate prayer towards the end of the Good Friday service at my church. People were giving thanks for the pain and suffering Jesus endured on our behalf and I couldn’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of frustration. I felt like saying “thank you” just wasn’t enough to convey the amount of gratitude we should feel towards Jesus. I didn’t want to be frustrated with the prayers of people who I didn’t even know. I struggle with pride at times so my frustration only grew as I beat myself up over my arrogance. I know that am in no place to judge others, especially considering the context. I couldn’t put my finger on why I was frustrated though. It wasn’t until the next morning that I came to fully understand why I was frustrated. It was probably pretty obvious, but I was projecting the frustrations I was feeling towards myself onto those around me.
Gratitude is a great starting point for Good Friday and Easter Sunday but I don’t believe it’s enough. We say “thank you” when someone passes us the salt at the dinner table. We say “thank you” when someone holds the door open for us. When Jesus is crucified and killed so that we may live a full life with God, saying “thank you” just doesn’t cover it. I don’t think there is any way we could fully articulate just how grateful we are towards Jesus. His sacrifice goes beyond comprehension. I don’t think Jesus expects us to be able to articulate our gratitude fully or comprehend his sacrifice either. The grace of God is a gift given to us freely. Yet there needs to be some response to that gift, something deeper than gratitude. Simply saying “thank you” without any real heart change, any real life action, seems hollow.
That’s where I realized my frustrations were rooted. I hadn’t felt much heart change in myself this Lenten season. I didn’t take this reflective season very seriously and I’ve fallen short on some of the character areas that I wanted to work on this year. Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been trying to get up at 6:00am and have at least an hour of quiet time with Jesus. I started off strong but in the past month, I haven’t been as consistent. It didn’t help that this frustrating episode started with a vice I’ve tried hard to work on, my pride. Despite all of my failings, my pride, and my arrogance, Jesus takes all of that and throws it away and says, “I love you and I want you to thrive in my Kingdom.” I wanted to write this post in the spirit of transparency and as a reminder to myself that I have warts and vices too. I am not a finished product and I will never be until I find myself in the presence of the Lord. That is a comforting thought. I need to allow in myself a bit of grace for my shortcomings because Jesus gave me all of His grace without regard for them.