My relationship with the Padres is pretty odd. On one hand, I love them like crazy. They are my all-time favorite team. They always will be. I’ll never stop being a Padres fan, no matter what. But at the same time, they cause me a ton of pain. It’s not easy being a Padres fan. Not easy at all. But through all that, I’ll never abandon them.
As strange as it seems, I think this a really good analogy for real-life relationships. I believe that Hollywood is very deceptive in its message of “happily ever after” relationships. Those don’t exist. Anyone who’s been in a relationship knows that. Sure, there’s a lot of happiness in a solid relationship, but there will always be hard times and trials. There will always be times when you don’t feel like loving the other person. You may even feel like you’ve “fallen out of love” with the other person.
Those are the times when loving the other person really matters the most. That’s pretty much what relationships are all about. We’re all taught that relationships are just peachy, so when something goes wrong, we assume that we made the wrong choice and that we are released from pursuing the relationship. Not so. In reality, the strength of the relationship is revealed in the way that it reacts to hard times. It’s all about unconditional love.
That’s kind of how it is for me and the Padres. As a Die-Hard Fan, I am obligated to love them in the good times and the bad times. Just because they’re not doing so great does not mean that I am released from my fanhood. I’m stuck here. I have an obligation to stick with this team no matter what, and I am going to honor that. I’m not going to give up on my boys.
But the amazing thing is, all this is just a picture of something so much bigger. Long, long ago, at the beginning of time, God had a contract with man. Man was perfect, and he lived in perfect harmony with God. But then, man broke the contract at the Tree. He disobeyed God and ran and hid from Him. Sin had entered the world.
God then enacted a new contract with man. He said that He would send someone who save us. We couldn’t do it ourselves.
Every single one of us has fought against God. Even if you think that you are neutral to God, that in itself is a choice. We are all dead in our sin. We are all hopeless and helpless. We can’t keep our part of the contract. God asked us to be in an unconditional relationship with Him, but we can’t do it on our own. We’re too sinful, too selfish, too stubborn.
We needed help. We needed someone to bridge the gap between us and God. We needed someone to fulfill the side of the contract that we couldn’t. That person was Jesus, whose death and resurrection we are celebrating this weekend.
But it’s not just about His death and resurrection. It was the 30+ years before that that are also essential for us. He not only died for us, but He lived the perfect life for us. He lived the life that we couldn’t.
I know that we all wish we were perfect. A lot of us probably think that we’re basically good, but what we like to bury is the deep knowledge that we are absolutely broken. Most of us are really good at putting up a good face on the outside, but ultimately, we all know that we have no hope. We’re just wandering this earth with no purpose, no meaning.
That’s where Jesus steps in. He didn’t die for us because we had it all together. He died for us because we have absolutely nothing to show for ourselves. We try to scrape together some self-worth, but our hands come up empty. We bring nothing to the table but our utter ugliness.
We can’t keep up our side of the contract. But Jesus did that for us. So for me, Easter is a reminder of how helpless I am. And it’s an overwheming reminder of the grace that has been given to me.
I don’t deserve it. I know my heart. I reject God day after day, minute after minute, second after second. This verse of the song “How Deep the Father’s Love For Us” gets me every time I hear it:
“Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom”
Why should I gain from His reward?? I cannot give an answer. It’s just amazing grace. Thank you Lord. Help me to live my life in gratitude to You.
I hope you all have a blessed Easter, and I hope that you too become overwhelmed with the amazing grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.