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FIRST-PERSON: The healing power of Easter

MELISSA, Texas (BP)–I took a walk the other day around the small lake near our home. As I was sitting and thinking and praying, I met three ducks. These three ducks, one brown, one white, one black, were minding their own duck business while going for an afternoon swim.

As the ducks swam toward me, I noticed that the white duck had something sticking out of his neck. I could not determine exactly what the protruding object was. Soon, however, as the ducks swam past my spot, I noticed that sticking out of the side of the white duck’s neck was a metallic needle, with a yellow tip on the end. My imagination then began to work overtime, wondering how a duck happens to get a metal needle in his neck.

I began to study the white duck’s actions and realized that this duck, which I named Paul (obviously, because he had a thorn in his side), lived his duck life just like the black and brown ducks did. Paul the duck swam and flew and walked and ate and quacked, just like every other duck in the world, with one major exception. Paul lived his duck life with a needle in his neck.

Paul the duck had plenty of duck friends around, but no one seemed to notice or care about the thorn in his side. Either they did not notice, did not care or were unable to help him. No matter the reason, sadly, Paul’s friends never once attempted to remove this needle. Everyone simply let Paul endure the needle, too preoccupied with making their own duck living.

Sadder still, Paul the duck himself never tried to remove this foreign object from his body. He obviously must have known that he had a needle stabbing him in the neck, but never once tried to remedy the problem, instead learning to live and swim and eat and quack as normally as possible, notwithstanding the metal needle.

Do you have anything that is stabbing you today? Have you learned to live life with something that you know is wrong or foreign or painful, yet you ignore it and go on? Is there a habit or fear or anxiety or doubt that you wish could be removed, yet no one will help you be healed? Do you have a thorn in the flesh that won’t go away?

Do your friends see your pain? Have you learned to hide it from them and press on, as if you had never been stabbed? So many in our world go through life with pains and sorrows and fears sticking out of their necks, and we, their neighbors, co-workers and friends, either ignore their problem or refuse to offer any assistance.

The ultimate symbol of Easter is the empty tomb, the resurrected Christ having defeated death and sin by rising again. Jesus understands pain and is willing to help you deal with the greatest of all pains, the pain of sin, which causes separation from God.

As we celebrate Easter, may we remember that this holiday commemorates the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Christians around the world celebrate Jesus of Nazareth taking the ultimate stabbing on the cross of Calvary so that the sins of all human beings might be forgiven. If you can’t fix life on your own, why don’t you let God try? The One who made us knows how we ought to live and is dying (in fact, already died) to show us how.

During this Easter season, let’s work to remedy the pains in our own lives and in the lives of our friends. If you see someone like Paul the duck, offer to help them heal. If you are like Paul the duck, find a friend whom you can trust to help you remove the needle from your neck. For all of us, though, let’s remember that Jesus Himself was stabbed long ago and died and rose again on that first Easter morning that we might have life, eternal life.
Trey Graham, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Melissa, Texas, is a speaker, columnist, author of “Lessons for the Journey” (America House, 2001), and director of Faith Walk Ministries (www.faithwalkministries.com).

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  • Trey Graham