Arrested by the Risen Christ: Brenda's Story

I AM the Resurrection and the Life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die. John 11:25-26 Most of us know the story of the apostle Paul and how he was arrested by the Risen Christ on his way to Damascus.  His life was never the same again!  He went from a legalistic, persecuting Pharisee to a bond-slave of the Lord Christ.

None of us would say we are in the same category as the apostle Paul.  But really, in a sense, those of us who have been arrested by that same Living Christ have experienced the same thing...a life totally changed forever!  And a hope that transcends this temporal, earthly life!

Every Easter I think of family and friends who have died in Christ.  Somewhere and sometime on their earthly journey they each met the Risen Christ in a unique way...some quite dramatically, some softly and quietly.

During this Easter week, I'd like to tell you about a friend who was arrested by the Risen Christ.  She's virtually unknown, except by those whose lives she touched.  Her name is Brenda.

When Brenda came to the Lord after a difficult past, she was totally changed forever! She couldn't get enough of the Lord and His people.

 Brenda, Maria, Jan, Robin, Penny at Prairie Pond Woods 2006

Brenda, Maria, Jan, Robin, Penny at Prairie Pond Woods 2006

Brenda was always the one who asked me what we would do during our summer Bible study in our ladies group.  I often didn't take the summer off because of Brenda's gentle nudging.  She was hungry for the Lord and his Word.

And she was hungry to see those she loved come to Christ.  I remember one time in her old neighborhood, we did a prayer walk together.  We walked up and down the streets praying for neighbor after neighbor.

Life wasn't easy for Brenda.  But her perspective was clearly seen in her life verses:

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death works in us, but life in you. 2Cor 4:7-12

Well, Brenda went home to be with the Lord after about a 6 month battle with cancer.  We were all stunned...but I don't think Brenda was!  And she was ready.  On our occasional walks during that time, she always talked about her concerns for her loved ones -- her husband, her daughter and son, her mom...never about herself.  Sure, she wanted to live to see her grandkids (which was my prayer for her).  But she knew her Christ, and she trusted his decision.

A day or two after Brenda went home to Jesus, I was riding in my car to meet my friend Penny at a nearby nature preserve to walk.  It was a gorgeous, sunny fall day!  As I was passing a breathtaking field of sunflowers, Ibecame conscious of the song on my car CD player... "I Will Rise" by Chris Tomlin.  Immediately I knew that this was Brenda's song.  Now when I hear it, I think of her and the blessed hope that we have in the Risen Christ:

There's a peace I've come to know Though my heart and flesh may fail There's an anchor for my soul I can say "It is well"

Jesus has overcome And the grave is overwhelmed The victory is won He is risen from the dead

And I will rise when He calls my name No more sorrow, no more pain I will rise on eagles' wings Before my God fall on my knees And rise I will rise

There's a day that's drawing near When this darkness breaks to light And the shadows disappear And my faith shall be my eyes

Jesus has overcome And the grave is overwhelmed The victory is won He is risen from the dead

And I will rise when He calls my name No more sorrow, no more pain I will rise on eagles' wings Before my God fall on my knees And rise I will rise

And I hear the voice of many angels sing, "Worthy is the Lamb" And I hear the cry of every longing heart, "Worthy is the Lamb"

And I will rise when He calls my name

No more sorrow, no more pain I will rise on eagles' wings Before my God fall on my knees And rise I will rise

Christ is risen!  He is risen indeed!