Sunday, May 22, 2016

Japan...Take it Back

Last day of fun - 5/17/16

So, if you are someone who knows me personally, you know that I am currently on vacation in Japan! I've been posting photos on Facebook of me and my friend eating ramen and sushi, of me going to beautiful gardens and strolling along lovely rivers. Fantastic! However, nearly all of that is my attempt to salvage what has turned into a nightmare of a trip. Four days in, my friend caught the flu. Then I caught some version of what she had, and we've been trying to power through ever since. As I lay in bed crying this morning, I thought: I want to "take it back."

And I truly do. I wish I could take this trip back. Like it never happened. But, tragically, there are so very few things you can take back in this life. I can think of only a couple (but there are probably more):

my ongoing situation
  • If you accidentally say something hurtful to a small child (too small to know better), as soon as they start to wrinkle up their face to can hug them close, tell them you didn't mean it and buy them some ice cream. And it's over. It's like it never happened
  • When I was post-operation for my aneurysm, they told me about stroke risks and how that if you came to the hospital as you were having a stroke, or if you had a stroke at the hospital and they caught it in enough time, they could "take it back." Like it never happened. Which I thought was super amazing! Modern medicine. 
Even though I only have these two measly examples, I feel like most things that can be taken back, have to be taken back rather quickly. You have to fix it in the moment or it's too late. The damage is done. 

Except in one cosmically divine case. 

Lately--though my blog has lain fallow for a few months--I've been toying with this idea of "what is the best thing about Jesus?" And so far, I have two things, but this is the first: 

Jesus performed the ultimate take-back. 

"...but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." 
Genesis 2:17

This was what God told Adam and Eve in the garden. And you know what? They ate of that tree. And they died. And we've been dying ever since. Person after person. Generation after generation. And, we convinced ourselves that it was...natural. That death is just what happens. 

But then 4,000 years later Jesus came along, went to the cross, died...but didn't stay dead! He did this as proof that He had beaten death for all of us. The curse that Adam and Eve brought to mankind? Jesus took it back. 

Jesus said it best when He was talking to Martha: 

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
 - John 11:25-26

I love that. You will live, even though you die? Sounds like..."like it never happened." 

But Paul said it second best when he said: 

“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:55-56

The sting and power of death? Jesus takes it back. 4,000 years later. Which is true, but not true. 

All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world. 
- Revelation 13:8

God takes things back before they even happen. I like to believe this scripture, though written to the New Testament church, applied to Adam and Eve: 

No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man*; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. 
- 1 Corinthians 10:13

From the beginning, a way of escape was made. Death? Just something to be endured. Nothing final about it, because Jesus takes it back. 

*Okay, maybe this part didn't apply. They were the first the temptation couldn't have been common. 

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