Breaking the barriers

Breaking the barriers

John A. Braun

Most of the time we think of life with two barriers. The first is birth or conception. Life begins. Before that we do not exist and may only be a vague notion in the mind of our parents. A child! A new person! From the moment we have life and then onward each day we collect our identity and wrap memories around that identity until we reach the second barrier. Death ends the journey of life.

From all our experiences we do not know anything different. Each one of our obituaries sees life in this way. We are born and have a birthday we celebrate year after year. Then we have a date of death when birthdays cease and we have achieved the measure of our days marked by years, months, and days. There is nothing more, at least from all human perception and experience.

But Easter removes one of those barriers. Jesus arose from the grave; he came back to life. His enemies would not believe it; they had never experienced the breaking of that barrier. The evidence they had witnessed said it couldn’t happen. Death has no exceptions.

Even the disciples of Jesus had difficulty believing that Jesus had come back to life. The women trembled and were bewildered (Mark 16:8). When they told the disciples what they saw and heard, “their words seemed to them like nonsense.” (Luke 24:11). Thomas needed proof. But soon they all were convinced that Jesus had shattered death’s barrier to life. Life stretched beyond the burial.

The comfort and hope of the resurrection remains the message of the Christian church. Christians see more than life between birth and death. In Christ we see beyond death to resurrection and life forever with him. It’s a message that’s tied to Jesus. He is the only one who has the power to carry any human through death to life.

What about that first barrier? God tells us that even birth is not a barrier to his care for his people. He comforts us with the assurance that even before we were born, he knew us. “He chose us, in Christ, before the creation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4). Where we are today and who we are today God saw before we were born. God chose us before we were even that vague notion in the minds of our parents. We were loved before we entered life at birth.

The wonder of God’s love is that there are no barriers to his thoughts about us. He knew us before we were born and sent his Son to break the barriers that would keep us from life with him.

When we travel our short journey from birth to life’s end, God sees things differently than we do. He does not see only the 70 or 80 years we live here on earth. Our trials, our joys, our pains have all been considered in terms of our eternal life. That’s God’s vision. We don’t think that way very often. We’re lucky if we can see ourselves to the next birthday sometimes only to the next day, the next paycheck, or the next weekend. That vision is too short and narrow. We are God’s children adopted from eternity and bound to live in his presence eternally.

Does that take your breath away? It should comfort you no matter what temporary challenges or pain you have. It also changes the way we think about God’s promise that everything will work out for our good. He’s always had us in his mind and heart. Through Christ we are visitors headed for a long, long victory lap.

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Author: John A. Braun
Volume 102, Number 4
Issue: April 2015

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