In February 2004 in East Texas, Chris had just come through a life-threatening rupture of his appendix at Christmas-time. We had three children ages 7 months, 4 and 6.
Our church had rented the theater for members to come and watch The Passion of the Christ. So we dropped the kids at the church nursery (a little late) and headed over to the theater.
My stomach was in knots. I did not want to see it at all and was ready to bolt. We walked into the theater and I saw another movie poster (I think it was 13 going on 30). And I prayed, “Lord, can’t I go and see that one? I don’t want to see this movie. I just don’t.”
But I felt Him prompt me to push ahead and face my greatest fear–seeing a very true to life crucifixion of my dear Savior. I did not think I could stand it. I was sure they’d have to take me out of the theater crying and sobbing.
Then as we sat nearly on the front row, because the house was packed, I felt His Presence with me. I sat and watched Jesus pray in the garden of Gethsemane… A stillness came over my frame, unlike any I had known before, and I began to hear Jesus speak to me in my spirit.
Scripture quotations, songs, and words interacting in my mind with what I was seeing. I even was smiling! There were times when I heard, “It didn’t happen this way.” There were songs playing in my mind–“Were you there, when they crucified my LORD?” It felt like one of those interactive movies at Disneyland. I was stunned. I was enamored. I was thankful. I was loved.
The words “by my stripes they are healed” took on a whole new meaning. The crowd shouting, “Give us Barabbus” was like someone today saying, “Give us Bin Laden.” The sinless, spotless, Lamb of God was traded for someone like me–a sinful, wretched thief, liar, cheater, murderer and so much more.
He whispered, “I did this for you, Holly.” And I nodded my head with a single tear. It was the only tear I shed during that time, which in itself is amazing. Then, as He died on the cross, I began to hear, “There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins; and sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains. Lose all their guilty stains, lose all their guilty stains; and sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.” The entire song played in my mind.
It was amazing. It was to me a miraculous experience. I didn’t know He loved me like that. I knew, of course, that He loved me–that He saved me from my sins by His blood shed on the cross. I knew that! What I didn’t know is that, if I’d let Him, He’d daily walk with me through trials. He’d be my companion, my friend. He’d be my joy, my peace, my strength.
That day in a little theater in East Texas, my Jesus held me through the entire movie. I needed Him so. I still do! The hardest part of the time was my seemingly “inappropriate” smiling. I couldn’t explain it to a soul. People were weeping loudly for goodness sake! And here I was smiling. The smile was one of secrets shared. And they are mine to have with Him. They are yours to have with Him, too.
Closer than a friend or brother is my Jesus.
Deuteronomy 29:29 says, “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.”
1 Corinthians 4:1-2 “So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God. Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.”
Friday is indeed a day to be somber in remembering His sacrifice. But, we hold out Life to others in the secret trust that we have in Christ Jesus–we know that Sunday came and Jesus changed the world. Now go and receive it–let Him entrust Himself to you. Then GO and TELL it. Be faithful to share your secret that keeps you smiling!