Blog / Crown of Thorns, Crown of Beauty

It had been brewing for weeks. Even though the incident itself had passed, the ongoing emotional upheaval continued. I had been wronged and I could not get past it. I struggled to decipher what was really going on in my head and heart and arrive at a sensible reason for my continued unrest.

The perpetrator had not confessed nor sought forgiveness, and I wanted satisfaction. Not only did their guilt need to be made known, but my innocence extolled. It wasn’t fair. I wanted justice. Like a big ole fly bouncing around a light bulb, it just kept circling in my head. My best attempts to ignore it lacked lasting results.

Webster’s dictionary defines justice as “the quality of being just, impartial, or fair”; and further defines fair as “marked by impartiality and honesty: free from self-interest, prejudice, or favoritism.”

As this season of Lent leads us toward the beauty of Easter, it stops first at the foot of a cross where the culmination of events created the greatest “injustice” in human history.

Jesus had spent 3 years teaching, healing, and forgiving people as He traveled with His disciples. Early in His ministry He drew the attention and ire of the religious elite; but undeterred, He continued to glorify His Father. He did everything right and nothing wrong.

Yet there He was, staring into the face of misrepresentations, misunderstandings, deliberate lies, betrayal, and demonic motivations. When asked to defend Himself against the twisted meanings and allegations, He did not. The absence of explanations and justifications only quickened the evil pulsating through the crowds that had just recently been praising His name. Yet He remained silent.

Even as He prostrated Himself in the Garden the night before, He did not ask to be vindicated or to have His reputation restored. He asked for the will of His Father, regardless of what it entailed: Going a little farther, he fell facedown and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39, CSB).

Jesus selflessly obeyed, taking on even the sins of the very people who sought His demise. His death was accomplished in the most degrading, dehumanizing way possible. Yet even in this grave travesty He offered no demands, no defense, nothing but forgiveness to those most undeserving.

                        Isaiah 53:12, CSB: Therefore I will give him the many as a portion, and

                        he will receive the mighty as spoil, because he willingly submitted to

                        death, and was counted among the rebels;yet he bore the sin of many

                        and interceded for the rebels.

                        Luke 23:34, CSB: Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, because they

                        do not know what they are doing.”

I cannot look at the cross and continue to hold on to the pettiness of my own selfish needs for “justice”. As the weight of my grievances fade, I look to the cross and see the perfect One who chose the way of His Father above all else. By forsaking hurts, forgiving wrongs before they are even acknowledged, relinquishing my need to be understood or seen, I begin to walk the same path as He.

I need but trust the outcome to the Father's perfect, holy will, and let His Holy Spirit change me in the process, with hopeful expectation of that day when I too will be perfected. In this, love is made complete with us so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment, because as he is, so also are we in this world (1 John 4:17, CSB).

I will wait on the God, who turns ashes to beauty and can coax flowers to bloom from the blood-soaked ground at the base of the cross.

                        Isaiah 61:3, CSB: to provide for those who mourn in Zion; to give them

                        a crown of beauty instead of ashes, festive oil instead of mourning, and

                        splendid clothes instead of despair. And they will be called righteous trees,

                        planted by the Lord to glorify him.

Nanette Smith

A transplanted Texan, Nanette Smith spent most of her life in western Pennsylvania where she and her husband Tom raised their 6 children. When not homeschooling her children or helping her husband run his construction business, Nanette volunteered with Samaritan’s purse, crisis pregnancy centers, and served as Women’s Ministry Director. In 2013 God moved Nanette and her family to Texas and she attended her first Womenary class in 2016. Currently Nanette works as the Missions Coordinator at Mobberly Baptist Church in Longview, TX. When not working or playing with one of her 11 grandchildren, Nanette enjoys reading, writing, photography and baking.
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