The Easter season is here. I would like to share my thoughts on this extraordinary time of the year. I believe we all need Hope, especially in the world we are living in. It is my belief that the Empty Cross is there for all of us. The Cross is the beacon of Hope for all who believe.
The Easter story did not start with the crucifixion of Jesus and His resurrection. It started years before with Mary and Joseph, before they were married. Mary was told by God that she was pregnant with a baby who would change the world forever. His name would be Jesus. Just think of what Mary and Joseph had to go through. It was a sin for a Jewish woman to be pregnant out of wedlock. Think of what Joseph felt and how all looked on these two young people. Because of an angel they trusted God, but their lives were not easy—consider their long, 100-mile journey to Bethlehem. At their arrival, there was no place for Jesus to be born but in a barn.
The beginning of this story is significant. It involves miracles, angels, hardship, fortitude and the importance of values, not riches. It is essential to remember how the King of Kings was born and how He lived His life.
God did not ask Jesus to walk this world alone. He gave Jesus the disciples, who were with Him at all times. I think this fact has not been stressed enough. God does not ask us to do the impossible without individuals supporting us. I know in my life God has always made sure I have a very special support team. This team of supporters has changed throughout the years but the team is always there. Just think how difficult—if not impossible—it would have been for me to carry out my mission in life after my go-kart racing accident, if not for my team God surrounded me with. I know at times when things are going bad it seems like nobody is there. God is always there—but I am suggesting to you that He has placed special people in your life at special times to help carry you. In the title of my book The Gift is You the gift is not only God but those individuals God has given me. So I ask, “Who are your gifts?” They are nearby. You just need to recognize and acknowledge them. God has placed them in your life for a reason.
The next message of the Easter story is prayer. Jesus stressed the importance of prayer to His disciples and to Himself. He would at times pray for hours during the day and night. No matter the importance of the tasks He was assigned, He never was too busy to kneel and pray. Prayer has always been so important to me. It was never as crucial as it was when I was in Haiti. There was no radio, TV, newspaper, email. There was not even family to talk to. Even though it seemed like I was cut off from the rest of the world I never felt alone. I had a direct line to God and He was always there when I needed Him. Another time prayer was critical to me was after my accident. Sometimes I felt I had lost everything. All the things I had worked so hard for were now being taken away from me. However, God reminded me He was there and He was the real meaning in life. Jesus, even on the Cross, talked to His Father. How important is prayer to you and your life? Do you pray only occasionally, only in times of need, or do you talk to Jesus like the friend He is to you? I hope it’s the latter, because He so much wants to be a part of your life.
Finally, I would like to say a few words about the Empty Cross. When I was young I never could understand the Cross not having Jesus on it. I thought the importance of the Cross was to show Jesus dying for our sins and salvation. The only time I saw Jesus on the Cross was at Easter. The Empty Cross has a unique and deep meaning. Yes, Jesus did die for our sins and salvation but the reason the Cross is Empty is because He is no longer there. He arose on the third day. Because of His resurrection there is Hope for all of us. The Cross now has so much more meaning.
So, my friends, the Easter story is extremely profound and powerful. Because of Easter there is Hope for you and me. Jesus is no longer on the Cross. He is waiting for you and me. No matter what your circumstances are in life, His hand is reaching for you. You are the reason God sent Jesus to walk among men. You are the reason the Cross is Empty.
It is my prayer during this Easter season you will see the Empty Cross. You will know that God wants you to follow Him and if you do, you will never walk the world alone. What a special gift for those who believe.