Photo By: Kasia Koniar

I’ve always loved the idea of a masquerade ball.  Perhaps because I’ve never been to one, unless you include movies watched, and I find even movies aren’t made up primarily of balls and pretty masks.  I always wondered why a mask was so fruitful in knocking people off someone’s trail, when I could see, plain as day, that holding up a stick with some pretty beads and feathers on it, just doesn’t change anyone’s hair color nor does it affect their shoe size, ring size or canter.

In the same way, the masks we wear don’t alter what’s really going on inside.  We can say “fine,”   to the inevitable, “how are you?” that will be thrown our way, but if we’re putting on pearls and our attic is a mess, our attic is still a mess.  Let’s face it, hurt is hurt … junk is junk.

I was reminded today that our world is increasingly “positive savvy.”  You may hear things like, the power of positive thinking and changing your life via positive thought process.   We’re being taught that the way to success and happiness is being positive.

Granted, there is nothing wrong with positivity.  I like it; and if I work with you I hope you’re positive, because that’s just nicer to deal with.  But, let’s get real for a minute and think about what’s going on around us.  Did you look?  Did you stop and think about the lives around you … about your life?

If we are continually positive and that’s where our power lies we have nothing.  Emptying your mind and getting some “good vibes” is not going to be enough when everything around you is crumbling.  When the one thing you love most is stripped away you will become bare, broken and without hope, wondering how happiness was ever part of your vocabulary.

And when we smile and say, “I’m good!”  Are we lying?  Sometimes we just don’t want to let people in.  But if just one person knew the real us, how many masks would they see?

Jesus was known for entering into people’s pain.  In the story of Lazarus in John 11 Jesus has planned to heal Lazarus.  He tells Mary and Martha, “Your brother will come back to life again.” (vs.23) But they think he’s talking about the resurrection.  Jesus says to them: “ I am the resurrection and the life.  The one who believes in me will live even if he dies and the one who lives and believes in me will never die.  Do you believe this?”

Later when Jesus sees Mary weeping along with the crowd of mourners he is “moved in spirit and greatly distressed.”  And as he asks where they laid him, “Jesus wept” (John 11:35).

Why would a man, knowing the outcome of the situation weep?  Jesus knew he was going to raise Lazarus from the dead.  That’s something to rejoice in! In just a few moments Lazarus would be alive, but in that moment Mary was hurting.  In that moment the mourners did not understand and so Jesus enters into their pain.  He loves them enough to meet them right where they are and bring them to the point of understanding.

And aren’t we just like Mary?  We’re hurting.  Some of us are through the pain, some of us are in its depths, but none of us are immune from its presence.  And wherever we are it’s likely we don’t see the full picture just yet.  We’re waiting for the resurrection that we’re not quite sure is around the bend.  We’re living daily, wondering how much more we can really take.

And what happens when we “go positive?”  We feel guilty about how we really feel in those moments of weakness.  “Everyone else is so positive, they must not be dealing with all the things I am.  I must be the only one.”  And we begin to isolate.  We start to withdraw and the pain that we feel is not entered into by anyone.

Denying what’s welling up inside us, we push our emotions down until we’re crippled, unable to enter into others pain, unable to truly help others when they are hurting, because we’ve not walked through our own journey with honesty.

But Jesus wants to walk with us through the pain.  He’s in it all.   He calms the storm and has entered into our pain in the deepest way.  God sent his son so we can be free of the chains the enemy would bind us with.  He sees your today.  He knows your masks and he is victorious over them all.  Let him have your life.  Know him.  The question is for you: Do you believe this?

Just like Mary and Martha you have a choice too.  Do you believe God’s son?  He’s honest with you in letting you know there is life in his name.  He is honest with you in letting you know there will be pain in this life.  But he is also true to his word when He says He has overcome!  Believe the One in whom true happiness is found. He will bring to light your masks and you can drop them at his feet.

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