Good Friday commemorates the passion, crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ and has always been a somber day for me. Easter Sunday was more colorful and filled with life, as it should since Jesus rose from the dead. As a little girl growing up in Jamaica, Good Friday was an observed public religious holiday and still is a significant day of worship with families. We prepare our meals the day before which is known as Holy Thursday to ensure that we honor Good Friday as we do the Sabbath. Traditional foods consist of fish and hardough bread, and snacks like bun and cheese is a must. Easter is the holiday that I feel the most sanctified. Good Friday was the day I chose to execute my water baptism. I was raised in the church and always kept close to my faith. I made a commitment to serve the Lord before I was 12 years old. I never did the water baptism because I dreamt of doing it in the River Jordan due to its spiritual significance. It was where John the Baptist baptized Jesus.
Three years ago, I was deployed to the Middle East. I fell into deep sadness. I missed my daughter and husband intensely. I smiled on the outside, but hurt immeasurably on the inside. I submerged myself into the church especially the choir, which allowed me to be surrounded by positive people of faith. These persons were special to me. I was determined to do my baptism while in the desert. Although, I was not able to fulfill my desire to get baptized in the River Jordan, because travel to that location was not authorized at the time, but as Good Friday approached, I became more secure of my decision to get baptized while in the Middle East. I spoke to the Chaplain and my spiritual advisor and decided to execute this long desired goal on Good Friday 2014, one month before I was scheduled to return home.
I have always wanted to simply grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and what better time to elevate my faith to the next dimension than now? I was excited to finally accomplish this act of commitment. I continued to serve Him and grow in my faith. I share testimonies of His love and His grace that I’ve experienced. I shared my Good Friday baptism story with you because it was one of the many moments that flashed before me during this ordeal which also occurred on Good Friday last year. My family was driving home from a road trip and it began to rain. Although, we were going slower than the speed limit, something happened and our car began to veer right toward the guard rail. We were frightened as the vehicle began spinning in a circle facing oncoming traffic. It all happened so quickly, yet it seems as if it was in slow motion. Some people may call it luck, but there are some things that are beyond the imagination and when you experience God’s grace, you know that it’s not luck; it is the power of His love. You have to first believe in the power of His grace before you can believe it’s His work and not luck!
“The Lord said “Whatsoever you shall ask the Father in My name, He will give it to you.” John 16:23
While the vehicle was spinning out of control before it hit the guardrail, I asked the Father to protect us. What an experience that was! The damage to the vehicle was irreparable, but that was the least of our concern. My family could’ve died in that car accident, but we walked away with minor physical injuries. We are grateful that it wasn’t our time and I am reminded daily that Jesus died so that we could live.
This Easter, I challenge you to dig deep and be faithful to His words. Know that He will never forsake you and His love is unfailing. Tomorrow is not promised, so do your best in your life and relationship to make happiness last!
Make it a fantastic month! Do all things with courage and grace.
Maxine Chang Reyes