Happy Easter! Today is the day each year that my family celebrates the greatest hope of all, the hope of eternal life.
This hope is so incredibly important for me, and for you. Recently, I was discussing the reality of Jesus with a teenager. Could Jesus be real? Is the Bible accurate and trustworthy? Can we even find hope in a God who allows people to go through such heartache, heartache so deep and dark it seems impossible to believe in anything outside of ourselves?
I’m so incredibly relieved to say that yes, we can hope in Christ! In fact, he is my only hope! I could sit here and argue about how to prove the scriptures or scientific theories about why the Bible is in fact accurate. All of that can be argued. What can’t be argued is how I feel and what I’ve experienced. In my life, I’ve known my share of heartache. I’ve been abused by a parent and bullied by “friends” in school. I’ve lost pregnancies when all I really wanted was a baby, lost a sibling, lost a grandparent. I’ve lost a love to cancer. I’ve held my children as they cried over the death of their daddy. I’ve felt the wrath of family members for making decisions for my family that they disagreed with. I’ve gone through the diagnosis of a child with an autoimmune disease, only to be told that the road to recovery will be long and difficult. But none of that matters. Not really, anyway. What does going through all of that do for me? Or for anyone?
When I was a teen, grappling with the fallout from the abuse I experienced at the hands of my dad, it was because of my relationship with Jesus that I made it through. I felt him speak peace into my heart and was reduced to tears. After that encounter, I found it in my heart to depend upon his grace and with his help, was able to forgive.
When I lost 2 babies, I felt like I was defective and not able or supposed to ever become a mother. I remember weeping. In the bathtub. In water that had gone cold. I cried out to God for a baby! In my darkest moment on that journey, he put a salve upon my broken heart. Now, 9 years late, I’ve been blessed with 3 babies.
When my husband, ravaged by cancer and chemo, slipped from this life, I felt God drawing me into His side. He had prepared the way before me through my husband’s entire illness. He sent people to me to help me make it through. There were times when jars of money would show up on my doorstep (you have no idea how a widow with 2 little kids can struggle) and times when friends would pop up when I needed them most. There were late night tears and middle of the night fears and early morning dreams. There was a constant assurance that I was not left alone to drown in a sea of emotion.
Today, though, is a day of joy and celebration! Today is a day of an empty tomb, of a new promise, and of a resurrection of my savior! This man, Jesus, had been beaten, whipped, forced to carry his own execution tool and nailed to it. His crime was loving God and loving people. He’d not broken any laws, He hadn’t stolen anything, killed anyone, threatened anyone. He spoke peace and love and faith. He brought hope and forgiveness wherever he went. And 3 days after his brutal execution, some of his female followers went to his tomb to prepare his body. Except, he was gone! He had taken on the sins of all man because he loved his father in Heaven. He gave his life in obedience to God and gave me (and you!!!) the chance to live in eternity in communion with him, instead of suffering the consequences of our sins. I know that life has no promise of rainbows and roses and unicorns, but because of this hope I have of eternity with my Lord, I know that I can make it through anything. He is with me and he sustains me.