This article was published on Patricia’s column for the Atlanta Journal Constitution on Saturday – April 15, 2017.
The small family of Jewish slaves sat on the floor of their small hut, eating the lamb that was slain.
Their sandals were on their feet and they were dressed for the journey. Their sparse belongings were tied inside small sacks that each family member would carry when their leader, Moses, sent word that it was time to go.
Screams could be heard throughout the land. Mothers sobbed uncontrollably. Fathers howled as wild animals. The young boy knew what was happening and was afraid.
He lifted his head and stared at his father for a while.
“Am I going to die tonight, Father?”
“No, Son. You’re not.”
“Why not, Father?”
The father gently pulled his son up by the hand, and took him to the hut’s door.
“You see this, son? The lamb that you eat tonight was sacrificed for you. The blood of the lamb on our door posts is your protection. The Angel of Death shall not get to you. You are safe.”
April 4, 2017, marked the fifth anniversary of the day doctors removed one of the most aggressive types of cancer from my body. It was a small shadow of death that was growing, ready to possibly claim my life at a fairly young age.
As I get ready to visit my doctor this week for my fifth annual checkup, I still feel overwhelmed with gratitude for God’s grace toward me five years ago. The type of cancer I had is a silent killer and it would not have been caught were it not for an ovarian cyst that burst, sending me to the ER in excruciating pain.
I was spared, and trust that tomorrow I will receive the news that I am still in remission.
As much as that chapter of my life fills me with joy and gratitude, it pales in contrast to a different time, many years ago.
It started on the same month of April, 22 years ago, when a confused and depressed young adult started searching for answers inside the walls of Central Presbyterian church in one of Brazil’s capital cities.
My world was falling apart.
A long-term relationship had ended in betrayal. A close friend had deserted me. My business was failing.
Lost in the middle of my crisis, I remembered a friend from college who had once invited me to attend her church. At the time, I dismissed her. I was on top of the world! I didn’t need God!
But as my world started to crumble down, her quiet demeanor and caring attitude seemed to call me out from the pages of my college graduation’s photo album: “Would you like to join me for church this Sunday?
I attended the services for five months before I surrendered my life to Christ. It was Sept. 7, 1995, Brazil’s Independence Day, when my heart was set free. The blood of the Lamb was put on the door posts of my heart that day, and I was never the same.
Easter is my favorite holiday and the most anticipated celebration for Christians all around the world.
We dress on our Sunday best and head to church, where we sing our song of redemption, deliverance and victory. Our Hallelujah song.
The song that proclaims that we may certainly go through the same trials as everyone else – cancer, divorce, financial loss, death – but our hope is steady, unwavering and alive.
That same song which, I pray, will remain in my heart, even when doctors shake their head and my end on this earth draws near. It’s the song that warms the heart of all believers who have received the Savior’s blood on the door posts of their hearts.