I was very excited when I got an email notice that a yearbook from a high school I attended had been posted! I opened that link and began my journey backward into the year I was a sophomore in high school. The first I looked up was the boy I had a major crush on, a junior who played varsity basketball and probably didn’t know I was alive. I found him and there he was smiling off that page right at me and for a moment time stood still. There were two “power couples” that had actually married but are now divorced. One smiling young man, who I knew because he and his family attended our church, went to jail for shooting someone, others I saw there that I know have different serious health problems. I began to wonder, if those young people could have been told, if they had known their future, would they have lived life differently? There was one beautiful girl who all the others gathered around during free time in gym class to hear about her sexual exploits, has been divorced several times and is now living alone, her beauty pretty much faded away. I wonder if she had it to do over would she have been more careful about all the guys she went “all the way” with? Another young lady I saw there I had heard got caught for trying to hide steaks in the waistband of her skirt at the local market, would she re-think that action? Then I wondered what they would have to say or remember about me if they saw my picture there? Was I always kind, or helpful? My main problems back then was explaining to my teachers, how to pronounce my name, and trying to get my Latin and algebra homework done! If I had known the future what would I have changed?
Jesus already knew when He came to earth that He would have to die for us and He knew the kind of death He faced, and yet went straight ahead with the plan and finished it. When you feel sorry for yourself, read Hebrews 12:1-11 Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls! In this all-out match against sin, others have suffered far worse than you, to say nothing of what Jesus went through—all that bloodshed! So don’t feel sorry for yourselves. Or have you forgotten how good parents treat children, and that God regards you as his children?
Yes, Jesus knew what He faced and in the Garden asked the Father if it could be changed. He was in so much mental torture that blood was coming through His pores mingled with sweat. He had to face the beatings, and the pain and shame of the cross in the flesh, without the help of God or the angels. I thought having my babies without any painkillers was bad, I can’t even imagine what He must have felt. Jesus please forgive me for ever doing anything that cost You one stripe on Your back. He paid it forward for us, didn’t He? He had a chance to get out of it when Satan came to Him in the desert and offered Him the world, all for the simple price of kneeling down before him in worship. What would you do? I’ve always said that I wanted to find Eve in heaven and slap her across the face, but how many times have I yielded to temptations? Would I have succumbed to the idea of being like God? Everyone else’s sin looks bad on them but you must remember that it looks the same on you.
If I could speak to those smiling faces in the yearbook and tell them their future, would they do things differently? I am speaking to you today, check yourself and ask yourself how you can do better? Today is your chance to make things different, and to try to make a difference for someone else. Now smile, your picture is being taken for life’s yearbook!