Anyone who did not attend the Spring Makeover: Inside and Out retreat at the La Junta Church of the Nazarene last weekend missed a great event.
I usually do not like retreats and really have to psych myself up to go. As a person who has grown up in the church, I have had more than my share of guilt dumped upon my shoulders by well meaning people. I can look back at some retreats after which a good counseling session would have been welcome.
But this retreat was different. Not only did we have a great time in all of the workshops making body scrubs, meal plans and purses out of jeans, but the speaker was outstanding. Dr. Gay Hubbard spoke with warmth and humility. She encouraged us to keep going and to take care of ourselves because it greatly affects our spiritual lives. I wish I could tell you all of what she said, but you'll have to read it in her new book coming out later this year.
One thing she did say that I will--without guilt--incorporate into this commentary is this: The key to a good makeover, she said, is in allowing Christ to shine through us as he continues to do his work in our hearts. Christ is the one who has had the ultimate makeover. On the third day he rose from the grave with a glorified body. However, instead of getting rid of his scars, he chose to keep them.
Wow. He chose to keep his scars. In our world that is so enamored of outward beauty, the Maker of the universe and Creator of humanity chose to keep his scars. These scars must continually remind him of his suffering, but they also speak volumes about his victory. Without the resurrection, Christ's death would have been just like any other crucifixion and our faith would be in vain. Thank God it isn't!
Because of Christ's resurrection, we can hope for two things. The first is eternal life. C.S. Lewis said, "There are better things ahead than any we leave behind." That is true for both the afterlife and the life we are now living. So the second hope is that once we accept Christ, everything we are heading toward is certainly better than what we have left behind in this life. In this life we will still have troubles, sickness and heartache, but Christ stands beside us. This makes all the difference as we deal with life's tribulations.
Because of Christ, then, we can also look forward to life beyond the grave. In First Corinthians Paul quoted Isaiah and Hosea when he wrote, "Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
That victory comes now and in the future--what a makeover!