Last night I attended choir rehearsal for upcoming church services: the Remember services and the Resurrection Sunday services. I was intrigued by the order of rehearsal. We started out rehearsing for Sunday's service. The mood in the choir loft was jubilant and full of energy. We sang upbeat, fun songs about Christ's resurrection. There was a lot of chatter and laughing between songs.
But things changed.
Our choir director, Lisa, read the fiftieth reason from John Piper's devotional, Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die. As she read, the mood became somber. The devotional was about how God takes what is meant for evil and uses it for good. The crowd who crucified Jesus intended evil. Death was their goal. And they achieved it for a short time. But only because God allowed it...willed it, even. For without Jesus' death, we would not have the opportunity to commune with God, to live in relationship with Him, to live in freedom.
The sanctuary was silent, other than Lisa. When she finished, we began rehearsing for the Remember services, singing songs about the cross and the blood. The words were gripping as we sang about sin, shame, guilt, death, the cross. As I focused on the lyrics, I found something to be true. Those same lyrics would've had me in a heap of tears a few years ago. I would've been pierced with guilt, shame and sorrow. But last night, as I sang those words, I found myself thankful. So very thankful. For the cross. For the shedding of innocent blood. For One who was willing to die though He didn't deserve death. For forgiveness.
Forgiveness because while I was not physically present at the cross, my sin held Him there. I made a mockery of Him, just like the spectators around the foot of the cross, yet He loved me enough to die. His life for mine.
And now I can see in my own life that what I meant for evil, He is using for good.
Over the next few days, as we look forward to Easter, don't skip over the evil caused by men which God still uses for good today. Take time to reflect. To remember.