1 Corinthians 15:1-8, 20 (NIV)

Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. 3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,  4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,  5 and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.  6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.  7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles,  8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.   20 Christ has indeed been raised from the dead.

1 Corinthians 15:20 (NIV)

Christ has indeed been raised from the dead.

DEVOTION – Drew Sappington (Florida)

Although I am a lifelong Christian, I did not feel much like an immortal soul and did not have much confidence that I would rise to eternal life when medical tests revealed that I had cancer.  But as I reflected on the Easter story, I found that I believed strongly in the resurrection of Jesus.  And because Jesus rose, I had reason to believe that he would rescue me from death as well.

Out of gratitude, I began to pray more regularly.  Perhaps because of my weak faith, I did not pray for cure of my caner; but I did take time to praise God each day for what I had.  Sometimes as chemotherapy and radiation took their toll, my prayers were little more than incoherent babbling.  But with the aid of the Spirit, I kept praying.  (See Rom. 8:26.)

I endured months of treatments, underwent three major operations, and had a colostomy for a while.  My father died while I was going through all of this.  At the end of that awful time, my wife said, “This must have been the worst year of your life.”

I though about that for a minute, and I realized that throughout those difficult days I had been comforted with a profound sense of Christ’s presence.  “You know,” I told her, “it may have been the best.”  Knowing Christ is with us transforms us and our struggles.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:  God is the God of Good Friday as well as the God of Easter.

PRAYER: Dear God, help us to keep in our hearts the truth of your presence.  Amen.

PRAYER FOCUS:  Those With Cancer and Their Families