by Patti Richter
“There is no Easter Bunny!”
I lowered my head in disappointment after an older friend informed five-year-old me that Santa, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny were made-up figures for children. I needed to grow up.
At least my belief in God remained safely anchored to religious tradition. As a child I enjoyed the spiritual nurture and foundation our church provided. But my faith was something like a cellophane-wrapped basket of candy eggs—unopened. I hadn’t yet tasted the goodness of God.
Eventually I outgrew Easter baskets and became too teen-smart to accept religious tenets at face-value. Though faith offered some motivation for good behavior and a sprinkle of hope for life after death, I wondered if religion was all a ruse. Doubts entered my wide-open mind and vacant heart, and I became vulnerable to the most attractive suitor—the world.
Wanting God on my own terms, I resisted the notion that I needed to be “saved,” as one perceptive classmate suggested. Wasn’t I good enough for God? And isn’t goodness all that He requires?
Though I could not yet see my need for redemption, something kept me hunting for Easter. As a high-school senior, I bought a paperback New Testament and began reading the Gospel of Matthew with great interest—until school activities waylaid my progress. In college the next year, I joined a Bible study, and my hard-shelled defense began to crack.
The stone rolled away for me when I finally heard and agreed with the apostle Paul’s words, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 NIV). In confessing myself a sinner, I found the Savior.
I’ve enjoyed a long spiritual journey to discover the riches of God in Christ, “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3 NIV). But, like a selfish child, I tend to keep my basket of blessings to myself instead of sharing with others.
At Easter, churches typically welcome a greater number of worshipers, including spiritual seekers. Will I go out of my way to greet those who seem out of their comfort zone? Some visitors may be off-putting by their too worldly or wayward appearance. I’ll need to remember that I was once lost, and that believers may have viewed me as hard to approach.
Thankfully, “The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7 NIV). He “wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4 NIV). Like an earthly parent who points a confused child in the direction of the prize egg, God, in his mercy, has shown us the way to himself.
God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. –Romans 5:8 NIV
This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).
About the author: Patti Richter lives in north Georgia with her husband, Jim. She is a freelance journalist and long-time faith columnist at BlueRibbonNews.com with more than four hundred published articles.
Patti is the co-author of the award-winning Signs of His Presence—Experiencing God’s Comfort in Times of Suffering. It is the story of Luann Mire, whose godly husband was blindsided by an indictment due to a former employer’s tax fraud. The resulting prison sentence and restitution took the once joyful couple into a long season of suffering as they fought judicial tyranny. Helpless to change her situation, Luann endured a painful examination of her life and found God faithful to His promises.
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