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Berdine's Corner

Happy Easter
Remember the Reason
for the Holiday

by Kenneth X. Dennard

berdine dennard
Berdine Dillard Dennard

Life Lessons from a Matriarch

I almost lost my faith. In fact, at one point, I tried to lose it. Dealing with my mother, Berdine Dennard's death was and continues to be the hardest fight of my life.

I remember the story of Thomas, Jesus' disciple, who did not believe Jesus had risen from the dead. Thomas needed to see proof. In order to truly believe, he wanted to see the wounds of Jesus that he had gotten when he was crucified.

I've never had the opportunity to see Jesus in real life, so I never had that problem. But because of the circumstances of the tragedy that occurred, my faith was shattered. Then, as if it couldn't get any worse, my uncle died only months later. How could God do this to one of His children, I wondered. We all prayed through these whole ordeals. They both still died. My mother once said, "If it's God's will, it will be done." My argument was if it was His will to kill her, why were we praying anyway? The second after she passed, my faith flew out the window.

I reached out to several people, pastors included, and most either had no reasonable answer or just never returned the call for whatever reason. I thank God that I got through this rough period. There were many things that eventually helped me get back on track, but the one main thing was my mother's, uncle's and grandmother's love for Jesus Christ.

I think it's awesome that as sick as my mama got, she still praised God. She prayed, she cried, she sang Jesus Christ until the day she died. She never feared death. She was confident where she was going. She taught us in those last days. She told me how proud she was of me for sharing God with others and encouraged me to continue (Which is why I do this).

My pastor, E. Dewey Smith, Jr., of Greater Travelers Rest Baptist Church in Decatur, GA, once preached about Lazarus. In a sermon entitled, "Why does Jesus Sometimes Show up Late," Smith said that after Lazarus died, his sisters Mary and Martha wept. Jesus showed up at their home days later, many days after they both had sent for him to come heal Lazarus. But of course, he knew it was now too late. Lazarus was dead and buried.

Pastor Smith explained that when Martha saw Jesus coming up, she prepared to run out to meet him. Mary stayed back. She was upset. She figured it was too late and had an attitude because Jesus had the nerve to show up late. Pastor Smith went on to tell the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. Smith, then, explained why he thought Jesus showed up late. Pastor Smith said, Jesus shows up late to 1.) see who's going to doubt Him, 2.) see who's going to pout (Mary) and 3.) see who's going to come out to meet him anyway (Martha).

I think in the end, I did all three.

At some point in our lives, we all will have our faith tested. I hope I'm done with such tests, but because of the foundation my mother laid, (she was my Sunday school teacher in the 80's) and because of the way she lived and died - with Jesus in her Heart, I could never fully turn away. I know He's real. I feel Him in my soul.

I'm no saint and never have claimed to be. I've done a lot wrong, but I'm so glad Jesus continues to live inside my soul. I thank my mom, Berdine Dennard (passed October 08), Uncle, David Lee Dillard (Passed July 09), Grandmother, Ethel Mae Dillard (Passed Nov 04), and my first Sunday school teacher, mother and grandmother’s best friend, Mrs. Annie B. Flanders (June 08) for instilling Christ in me.

Remember the reason for the Easter Holiday. Make sure you do more than cook Easter dinner, hide eggs, and buy Easter baskets, suits, and dresses. Teach Christ. Mothers, teach Christ. Fathers, teach Christ. He's banned from schools. Please, teach Christ.

And have a Happy Easter!!!

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