Friday, April 10, 2009

Winning by Losing

Do you remember an event in your life that you initially thought was terrible but then turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to you? With that one question, we opened our acoustic discussion of the passion story this Good Friday morning at Bud’s Warehouse. I called it an acoustic reading because we wanted to keep it simple, focus on what the story says in Matthew 26 and 27, and listen to what God might be telling us today.

Over the years, this has been one of my favorite discussions. Individuals rebuilding lives in our faithventure businesses have much to teach about how a loss can be transformed into victory.

After my question, heads immediately nodded and many gathered around the table were excited to share. A common theme quickly developed. Prison was the worst thing that had ever happened to several of the participants. But it ended up being a blessing in disguise.

For several individuals, prison stopped the cycle of drug abuse that was destined to end up in death. For another, prison ended poor decisions that would have eventually resulted in someone dying. Everyone agreed that prison was the place where faith bloomed because it was the location where brokenness was realized and the need for new life was understood.

We then slowly read the Matthew account of Jesus’ last days. We tried to focus on being in the story….experiencing what Jesus’ followers felt on that first Good Friday while attempting to temporarily forget how the story climaxes on Easter Sunday.

This was a terrible event. It was the death of the disciples’ hopes and dreams in the leadership of Jesus. The man they thought would lead the next chapter of Israel’s history as the Messiah was now being horribly tortured and killed.

We stopped reading after the burial of Jesus. We paused to experience the defeat and the questioning of Good Friday. And then we looked forward to Easter Sunday where the current story resolves into the bigger background story of Jesus’ victory over death.

We will continue to celebrate together early next week at work how our worst defeats become the path to our biggest victories.

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