Sometimes I find it hard to get out of bed. The alarm buzzes violently next to my head, and my mind goes straight to the overwhelming and seemingly endless list of tasks before me that day. And I shrink back down, roll over and ignore them all.
But of course, I can’t stay there forever. I eventually make my way to the kitchen, brew myself a coffee and stare into the garden - eyes struggling to focus. All the while, the weight of the day set before me attempts to drag me under. And, somehow, before the day even begins, I long for it to end.
And then I see the birds. The birds, already flying busily around the yard, singing with enthusiasm. Even at this early hour, wonderfully productive. Flying, working, communicating. And I think to myself, they’ve managed it. They are up, they are completing their tasks, they are coping - even thriving. And if they can do I, so can I.
It’s these kinds of mornings that help me reflect on the difficultly Jesus must have faced every day. Jesus was human, and faced the same anthropological difficulties that face every human. However Jesus was also God, and knew exactly the nature and size of the challenge that lay before him. Yet each morning, he rose. Each day he completed the tasks set before him. Each day he managed. He was never overwhelmed. And each day he drew nearer to the cross.
Easter is fast approaching. A time to reflect on the death and resurrection of Jesus. Yet also a time to reflect on the life Jesus led, the example he set, in simply being. In achieving. In living. Living with the knowledge of what was to come. Living in the shadow of the cross.
Mark 8:31 says this:
He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again.
This may be a verse you find familiar. Jesus predicting his own death. But they are words worth dwelling on. Jesus knew full well, from before his public ministry began, he was to die. The end product of his ministry was his own death. The reward he would receive for each day’s labours was a place on the cross at Golgotha. His gift for the many long days of persecution was death, painful and slow.
Yet it was that outcome that provides for us an end goal worth striving for. It’s in the death of Jesus that we find life. Jesus receiving death means we can receive life. Our end goal is not death. Our end goal is life. Our afflictions and our trials have an end goal of life. And life to the fullest, life with the creator himself.
As 2 Corinthians 4:16-17 describes:
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
Jesus kept his eyes on the eternal. And so must we. When life seems too difficult. When the sheer weight of the day threatens to engulf us. We look to the eternal and we see a glory to be shared, to be enjoyed.
We may not always summon the enthusiasm of the birds. But we can enjoy the same freedom, if our eyes are fixed firmly on the unseen, on the eternal.
Liam Denny is a former radio journalist and newsreader, now working to bring the good new of Jesus to media workers in Sydney through the ‘Christians in the Media’ ministry. In his spare time, you’ll find him having coffee with his wife Jenny in cafes around Sydney’s inner west, playing sport and taking his dog for a swim in the harbour. You can read his other work at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/liam-denny.html