by Donna Marie Berger

I was getting out of my car at Publix, when a bolt of lightning, followed by a crash of thunder literally shoved me back into the car. Those who are familiar with the tropical climate of south Florida are used to the whimsy of the weather here. The rain hadn’t started so I thought I had a fighting chance of getting my carton of milk and getting back to the car before it did. But, as I stood in the checkout line, the skies opened and the blinding, torrential rain poured down. One of the cashiers stood in the checkout area pointing out the fully stocked umbrella stand. Being a veteran of this weather, I always have a mini umbrella in my purse, but I remember back when I was the uninitiated and often soaked recipient of these pop-up storms. So, I bought two of the little umbrellas as I headed out.

As expected there were several people leaning on their grocery filled carts in dismay. The puddles were already an inch deep and there was no sign of letting up. I turned to an anxious looking young woman and offered her one of the new umbrellas. She readily accepted it and gushed with appreciation saying that she was already late to pick up her daughter from school.

Nearby was another woman. She had a look of annoyance on her face and when I offered her the second umbrella, she simply said, “no.” I looked out at the rain coming down in buckets and then back at her and said, “Are you sure? I am happy to give you this umbrella.” She just shook her head no.

In the week ahead, Christians will commemorate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

He was handed over to die because of our sins, and He was raised to life to make us right with God. Romans 4:25

Christ died on the cross to restore the relationship between man and God. Being justified before God and forgiven of our sins offers us a ‘living hope.’ When we accept Jesus’s sacrifice, we claim that ‘hope.’ When we accept that unmerited, free gift of love, we no longer have to fear the wrath of God. We are forgiven children of God with an inheritance of eternal life waiting for us. How great is that?!

Like refusing an umbrella in the rain, it’s hard to understand why anyone would choose to face the condemnation of God and eternity in hell. There are many people out there searching for answers. Answers that only God can provide. During this Easter season, I pray that every one of us embraces the opportunity to believe and receive Jesus Christ into our hearts. I pray for the grace to turn away from sin, the grace to choose forgiveness, and the grace to choose eternal life. May you all be blessed by the amazing gifts of Christ this Easter and always.

25 Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life.Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”  John 11:25-26

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