A New Perspective
A little over two weeks ago, my grandfather passed away, and a little over a week ago, we were saying our final earthly goodbyes to him. As a result, I am approaching this Easter with a grieving heart. Though this has been a difficult period, it has provided me with an entirely new perspective on the entire Easter season.
The Role of Lent
This year I participated in Lent for the first time ever. Though my original purpose in taking part in Lent was to help remind me of the sacrifice Christ made for me on the cross, I had no idea how God would use it to prepare my heart for what was to come. As I shared in an earlier post, I soon learned that Lent was not about showing God that I appreciated His sacrifice, but instead, it was a time to examine my heart and draw closer to His presence. Looking back, I can now see how God was using that time to make me more aware of His presence and how He was working, even through difficult circumstances.
The Pain of Loss
I have to admit that when life is going well, it’s sometimes difficult to empathize with the pain that others might be experiencing. Likewise, during past Easters, many times it has been easier to focus on the joy of celebrating with family and loved ones than on the pain and sacrifice that is an integral part of the Easter story. However, the pain associated with such a recent loss has made this Easter more emotionally raw than any other. Longing for the presence of my recently departed loved one makes both the sacrifice of my Heavenly Father and the grief of all of those who loved and walked with Jesus very palpable.
The Promise of New Life
Though the pain associated with Easter has been more intense this year, so has the joy and expectation of celebrating the risen Christ. As I long to be reunited with my grandfather and my other loved ones who have gone before me, I am more grateful than ever for this promise we read in John 11:25:
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.”
More than ever, I can’t wait to hear the words of Matthew 28:5-6:
The angel said to the woman, “Do not be afraid, for I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come see the place where he lay.”
I expectantly look forward to proclaiming 1 Corinthians 15:55:
“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”
The Joy of Hope
If you, like me, find yourself experiencing a period of grief during this Easter season, my hope is that you will find some light shining through the darkness as we celebrate the risen Christ. My prayer is that you will lift your eyes to the heavens and cling to the words of 1 Peter 1:3-5:
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.
A Prayer of Comfort
Merciful God, thank you for sending Your one and only Son to die for our sins. As we experience our own personal grief during this Easter season, we know it is only a small taste of what You experienced as You watched Your one and only Son take on the sins of the world and die on the cross. Thank you that because of that horrific death we can expectantly look forward to being reunited one day with our loved ones who believed and accepted your amazing gift of eternal life. We ask that You be our source of strength and comfort as we look forward to the glory of the coming resurrection. -Amen