Easter is over. The bunnies are now toys, the baskets are on shelves, the candy is almost gone, and the brand new dresses put back on hangers. As soon as the last church bell rang, the leftover welcome cards were gathered and the pews dusted off in anticipation of when at Christmas they will once again overflow with crowds. For the masses, Easter and Christmas are primarily about the holiday trappings; sadly, Christ and the cross are mere obligations. The cross message for them, like the ribbons and the eggs, is stashed away.
Fortunately, in most churches, after the crowd dissipates, the cross remains. It is a permanent, visible fixture. It is the primary centerpiece. Its influence is fluid. Easter is over, but for Believers, focus on the cross continues. That is because for us the cross is everything.
At my local church this year, our pastor had erected an enormous wooden cross on a stand for use prior and during the Easter season. We have another permanent cross, visible above the baptistery. On Palm Sunday, passed out to all in the congregation were sets of cards on which one could write prayer needs based on three specific categories. The cards were color coded as to needs of Sorrow, Sin or Salvation. Then, during a time of praise and worship, those led to do so could tack their cards to the cross, in essence entrusting their burdens to the Christ of the cross. It was a very moving and powerful time of worship.
Since the cross was so tall, most of the cards ended up clustering near the base, and while tacking mine on, some belonging to others kept dropping off. As I attempted to reattach them, trying not to focus just on my own needs, I remembered that those which fell did so at the foot of the cross, and that ultimately this is the place where all of our burdens need fall. I also remembered that no matter where they fell, the risen Christ sees them all. With that in mind, I left mine on the cross, praying and anticipating with others for the answers we so desperately need. I left my burdens there, or so I thought.
When Easter arrived, our staff had beautifully decorated the cross. Drapes were folded over the cross beam, representing Christ’s royalty. Attached to the top was a crown of thorns, and spread out over its entirety were all the cards, essentially enclosing it with the burdens of our people. With a light radiating from below, the finished work was spectacular.
As I sat in the congregation, gazing at the cross and thinking of all the sorrows, sins and salvation needs up there, the bridge of a song being sung pricked at my own hurting heart, The cross was enough. (Jesus, Son of God by Chris Tomlin) What I had to ask myself, as with tear-drenched eyes I sat pondering the seeming hopelessness of some of my requests, is whether I fully believe the song, “Was the cross enough?” Is Christ enough? Do I really believe that Jesus is big enough to reverse my sorrows, to break the stronghold of sins, and to save my lost loved ones? Have I truly and permanently attached my burdens to the cross, or are they popping back off, like the ones I saw?
In my heart of hearts, I know with unashamed certainty that the finished work of the cross was enough. I do not doubt that Jesus rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. I have trusted Him with my life and He is now my Lord. In my heart, I trust that the cross is enough. My faith, however, needs feet. I must walk out that believing in order for it to be real. I must live as though I believe the cross is enough for any of life’s problems, no matter the difficulty. I must leave those burdens attached to the cross.
The reality for me, and likely many of you, is that as humans we all struggle with putting our faith into practice, especially when the storms of life overwhelm. Sorrows, illnesses, hardships, sins, burdens for the lost, and any number of other things life throws our way can at times seem larger than life and bigger than any hope of deliverance. However, during those times, such as for some I am currently facing, the cross MUST be enough. Without the finished work of the cross and apart from the Great I AM stepping in, there is no hope. Storms are those situations in which we must cling ever more closely to the cross and leave our disappointments, hurts or difficulties at His feet. He MUST come through. If not Christ, if not for the cross, then there is no hope for any of us. For us or for the world.
The preceding chorus of the song above, referring to Christ and all He accomplished, goes on to say,
Be lifted higher than all You’ve overcome
Your name be louder than any other song
There is no power that can come against Your love
the cross was enough
the cross was enough…
Although my faith does not always maintain its certainty for my heavy burdens, the cross WAS nevertheless enough because now there is no power left that can defy Christ. While on the cross, Satan thought there was still a way to defeat Him, but whenever Jesus uttered the words, It is Finished, there was no denying Love from conquering. From that point on until now, and carrying on into eternity, no power can defeat the Risen I AM. No Name is greater. No power is stronger. No problem or difficulty is outside the capability of His power to overcome. That overcoming power coupled with His unending love, restores my hope, and even when I cannot maintain a certainty, He will help me back up to a place of believing.
The cross was enough for no other reason than Jesus, who endured the cross for us. He alone saves, delivers, frees, heals, and oversees. Our problems to us can loom large compared to our power to overcome; however, as those tiny cards stuck to the massive cross at my church appear miniscule by compare, His glorious power by overcoming the cross makes the solutions to our difficulties seem small and within reach, His reach. Now, the Risen Lord can wrap His arms of love around every sorrow or sin or lost lamb, and intervene as no other can.
No matter what, His love is enough. No matter who, His grace is enough. Without a doubt, the Christ of the cross is enough.
Praise God, the cross was enough!