Fear of the Sting

On our way home from church this Sunday, Isaac said, “Mama, is it true that we’ll come back from the dead after we die?” And I responded with a proud, “Yes, sir!”

Seth’s head turned to me, “You said that so definitively, and the truth is that we never die. We’ll be given new bodies, and there’ll be a new earth.”

I wonder how many gaps we’ve filled in. What pictures have I used in my blind spots? What’s true about the resurrection? About where we go when we die?

That night Jude, having heard only part of the conversation, wept in the bed. He wrung his hands round and round, and tears poured out.

“I don’t want to die! I don’t want to die!”

I covered him with a big hug, and we prayed. I said, “You won’t die, Jude. You won’t. Only our weak bodies. That’s why Jesus came – so we won’t be afraid of death.”

But Jude is still afraid. Unbelief is a target for the sting.

It’s Holy Thursday, the day Jesus sat along His dearest ones to eat and prepare. Before that, He washed their nasty feet. If I had been there and had seen him take off His outer garment and intimately bow to the floor to touch my filth, I think I would have acted much more violently than Peter did, flailing and denying

a cleansing so intimate, the water so dirty.

How could they have understood before the rooster crowed, all the ways they would deny Him? How could they have seen the dogs of the spirit world snarling at His feet? They couldn’t have known He would give up His breath and roar like a star into Hell? How could He explain to them the white stallion that picked Him up, His real body back, how He’d tear out the hooks between our flesh and sin?

I don’t really know how it happened. I wish I could say.

But I do know that when He returned to them, they witnessed the firelight of God. They would have lined up for days to lay their dirt out to be cleaned. Wide out in the open, the Christian Church was born in the God-blood of Jesus, born into Might, Power, Servant-Kinghood.

He hugged them when He came back, kept the wounds for proof. He opened their eyes, and they saw how intimately He x-rays us. He knows the darkest dark, the greatest sting of death.

On that first Holy Thursday He said, “You call me teacher and LORD; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did for you (John 13:13-15).”

Today we know so much more than the disciples knew.

Today I’m going to enjoy the life I have in this skin. I’ll take Jude’s hands, stop the wringing. I’ll walk headlong into my own death, like Jesus did, and I won’t be afraid. Today is intimate, secret places unfurling, the feet in constant water, and the holy hands reaching in.

Consider what it means to have Christ-Esteem, that the breath we breathe doesn’t define our being.

About me


7 Thoughts on that Dark Good Day
March 29, 2013


Reply April 21, 2011

As always, beautiful, Amber.
Thanks for the image of my death-conquering servant king Jesus.

Johanna @ These Prices
Reply April 21, 2011

Beautiful Amber. I read that passage over and over this morning, letting it seep.

Reply April 21, 2011

Nearly speechless about this....I'm always so blessed by the words he fills you with....so happy he knit you together...

Reply April 21, 2011

I've kept this open most of the morning so far, just reading it a few more times while I have my tea and thinking. Thank you.

Melissa@one thing
Reply April 21, 2011

This the perfect way to wake, to walk into this weekend. So thankful for your ministry in my life and hope against hope that when my littles start asking questions I can drop definitive on them. I'm so wishy, washy some days...
Be blessed this weekend!

Kelly @ Love Well
Reply April 21, 2011

My aunt died four years ago this Easter. She succumbed to cancer at the age of 54. It was a strange, beautiful weaving to me, this mourning of her earthly life while celebrating the eternal life we have because of Jesus' death for us. I felt death's sting. But it didn't leave a mark.

Reply April 21, 2011

i woke up early this morning, before i needed to get up. and i marveled over christ esteem. and tried to understand it. to claim it. and then i got up and started my day - immediately seeking esteem from my normal sources - husband, body, writing....it's like i carry this basin around asking for these to wash my feet. and they just. aren't. capable. thanks for these posts, amber.

Reply April 21, 2011

Yes, reach in, holy hands.

Washing the feet, breaking the bread: I want to do these things with my Christ today and all days.

Thanks, Amber. Sometimes I wring my hands like Jude. I don't like endings either, but God is a creating, beginning, living God.

Shannon Wheeler
Reply April 22, 2011

Powerful descriptions of the fierce love of Christ for us! I love the image of him tearing "the hooks between our flesh and sin." Thank you, Jesus, for the cross! I am only deserving of the the hooks my sin has warranted, but Your grace has saved me through faith!

Reply April 22, 2011

Beautiful and relatable post. I always feel like I'm there, right inside your story.


Reply April 22, 2011

I'm glad you're back to blogging.

Robin ~ Pensieve
Reply April 22, 2011

I thought I understood (by your comment somewhere? an email?) that you must have redesigned your blog; I love how it's still in keeping with "you" and yet revised to provide more of what you need, want. Thankful I carved out time to spend time with you in this, the only way these days. :)

I identify with Jude more than I like or care to admit. He is a child and I most certainly am not. But I understand his fear from having lived it. Its sting is mean, indeed.

Lovely words of redemption that remind me of the Hope I know. Intimately, yes, but with a prick still in Achilles.


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