Because He Lives.

I can't seem to shake it.

I can see the blood streaming from Your forehead as You beg God for some other way, any other way.  

I can feel Your heart breaking when Judas, one of Your own, kisses Your cheek and turns You over to those with malicious intent.  

I can hear Your pained cries as You are beaten and nailed to a cross I deserved.  

I can't fathom the awesome sacrifice, the incredible pain, the revolutionary love.  

I've done little else other than bitterly complain over the last year.  The cross stands before me always, the bridge between the punishment I deserve and the hope You offer, but I don't always see it.  My eyes trail to greener grasses, to prayers being answered for other people, to fulfilled hearts and glowing purposes.

The enemy says You're holding out on me.  And I'm ashamed to admit that I've believed him a time or two.  Or twelve.  I've questioned Your love, Your intentions, Your goodness.  I've wondered if You are really for me as Your Word says.

But my heart is so heavy.  It's heavy with the knowledge that You died.  You died for me and I have wept with the sweetness of that knowledge and the hope that I will never forget it.  

I hope I never forget that life is worth the living because You live.

Because, You see, none of it would matter if the story ended at Calvary.  If You endured a ridiculous amount of pain and humiliation only to die so that we could visit Your grave, our souls would still be in need of salvation.  Your shed blood wouldn't have the power to wash away sins.  There would be no new creations in You if the story had ended at Calvary.  

But it didn't. 

The story didn't end when You said, "It is finished."  

The story didn't end when life left Your body.

The story didn't even end when Your body left the tomb.

Because victory awaits.  Friday's devastating heartache eventually meets Sunday's inexplicable joy.  You didn't stay on the cross or in the ground.  You couldn't be overcome by evil schemes or darkness.  You looked death in the eye and rose again.

Death couldn't stop You, the devil couldn't defeat You, and the grave couldn't hold You down.    

You are alive.  And that changes the story.  That changes my story.  That changes everything.

I can hear the familiar strain of music, the melody starting to build as the musicians begin playing.  The lyrics settle on my heart, soft and slow and steady, as my eyes drift closed and my voice joins the chorus.

"And life is worth the living just because He lives."

Thank You, Jesus.  Thank You.

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