Editor’s note: The following is based on an Easter Reflection written by Bob for Serge staff and partners around the world.
What are your earliest memories of Easter? My earliest memory is wearing new, uncomfortable clothes that were promptly put away after the day passed. I grew up poor in a foster home where white bread, milk, and sugar made up a regular dinner.
My childhood memories are all in black and white. My earliest memory of Easter consists not only of new clothes, but also of separate visits from my father and mother at different times of the day. I remember tears streaming down my face with outstretched arms pointing at the back of their cars as they left.
I saw my mom and dad twice a year on Christmas and Easter. I saw my foster-care caseworker more often than I saw my parents. I longed to have an older brother who would love me and protect me from neighborhood bullies who regularly hurt me. I longed for a father who would care and shield me from the sexual abuse committed against me by trusted caregivers. I felt alone and scared.
My childhood was marked by pain, abuse, abandonment and not much of what we would associate with Easter today.
Today, I live as a son, dearly loved by my heavenly Father and my wife and children. I am a blessed man. Not only has God rescued me from a life of pain, misery and hopelessness, He has given me the privilege of serving alongside Serge staff and ministry partners to help set the captives free all around the world.
It is so humbling and powerful to think that we get to partner with the Holy Spirit to introduce people to Jesus and the life-saving gospel message. We get to write, speak, and live out the message of grace before the watching world. We have the honor of helping people see, know, and experience God’s grace in such profound ways that it compels them and us to be bold and to risk serving Christ in ways that are stretching and challenging.
Today, I see in bright, vivid colors that eclipse the black and white images of my youth. The joy of my salvation is real and palpable. I love serving in a ministry like Serge that has such incredible scope, such life-changing significance and remarkable staff and partners.
As I imagine Easter in the future, I see thousands and tens of thousands of believers worshipping our Lord and Savior and King because of the seeds so many have planted in response to God’s call. Just thinking about this brings a smile to my face and helps inform how I respond to momentary struggles or when I am weighed down by a strained relationship, the weight of leadership, or a demanding schedule.
You see, this is our reality. This vision of the coming of Christ and throngs of worshippers around His throne informs and shapes our vision, sustains us in rough patches and causes us to look forward with anticipation and excitement. This very reality is why I do what I do day in and day out. I suspect that is why you do what you do day in and day out as well. And, it is this reality that allows me to look in the rearview mirror of my life and not be defined by poverty, abuse, abandonment, and shame.
I am so blessed to know you, to be a beggar alongside of you showing other beggars where to find bread and to be your servant leader. Nancy and I pray for you regularly. It is our privilege to do so. We will pray that this Easter you will know the height, depth, and breadth of God’s love for you, and that same love would flow out of you to all those hungry souls you are in relationship with in your communities.
He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!
“Morning Star” image © 2016 James Fissel. Used with permission provided by Eyecons