I told this story again last night to a group my friend and I were leading, so it’s on my mind today. It’s one of my favorites. My dad used to tell it a lot too…because I think it was one of HIS favorites. I’m pretty sure I have some of the small details wrong, but the main point is the same. So forgive me some editorial license as I tell the story of my dad and the dead duck. (I’d check with him, but he’s dead…but alive in Christ! Read on…you’ll see why I mention that…)
So, my dad was a young kid when this happened. He lived in the beautiful countryside of the rolling hills of western Pennsylvania. Somehow he won a duck at a fair. (Okay, it may have been a chick, but I think it was a duck.) He brought that duck home and tried to raise it. It was not long for this world.
So he buried it in a Velveeta cheese box. Can you picture it? The rectangular, bright yellow box? He buried his dearly departed duck in that box. But – being the inquisitive young kid he was – he made sure that the back tail feathers of the duck stuck out of the top of the box and didn’t bury it under much dirt, so that he could still see the feathers sticking up.
He went back and checked that duck and those feathers a couple days later. Then a couple days after that. Til finally, one day, he reached down to touch the feathers and with a slight pull, they came off in his hands. Oh my word, picturing my dad as a kid looking down at those feathers in his hands… love it!
But I mean, still: that duck was dead.
My dad used to tell that story to illustrate a couple different points, one of which was to make the point about how dead we were in sin in relation to God.
Paul says in Ephesians 2:1-2, And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked…
Dead as a doornail. Nothing. Tail feathers coming right off your dead self.
“But God…” Oh! The beauty of verse 4. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved – and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus…
But God made me alive in Him through His power and because of His mercy! The power it takes to bring to life something that was dead is mind-boggling and beyond my comprehension. I mean, I can barely get dinner on the table in my power, much less raise something from the dead!
This same resurrection power that brought Jesus back to life, is the resurrection power that brought me to life in my relation to God. It’s not a 180 turn around… and it’s not like a caterpillar metamorphosis taking place and that little wormy creature changing into a butterfly – after all, that caterpillar was always going to BE a butterfly, right?
But THIS?? This is a life raising, soul changing, I-did-not-see-this-coming, resurrection power turning DEATH TO LIFE.
I have been praying lately that this realization would be more and more on my mind – that I am alive in Him. That I should fear nothing… absolutely nothing because I have that resurrection power in me. It’s not easy to do, because I am sinful and because I am stubborn and because I can get intimidated. But, oh my word, even just typing those excuses out makes me realize how stupid they are… And letting days get to me, and small issues with people or taxes or potholes or stupid car repair costs get to me…
Or, even more serious issues, like illness and cancer and pain and being hurt by others… Still, in the midst of that pain to know who we are. I’m not making light of those, I’m saying they are completely and totally heavy and draining and exhausting and yet, in the light of the living hope we have in Him, we can rest assured in the promise that we are:
Alive in Christ.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed int eh last time…. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.