How Easter encourages those who mourn

“…we don’t mourn as though we have no hope.”

Shopping for Easter dinner. Done. Dusting off that china you use once a year. (Good thing you put this on your wedding registry!) Done. Filling all of the plastic eggs with candy for the Easter egg hunt after church on Sunday. Done. Praying it won’t rain during the Easter egg hunt. Done. Making sure you have plenty of wine. Done. I’ll just let this one steep for a while. Don’t judge.

I’ve heard the Easter message repeatedly since I was a little girl and I’ve always thought I had a pretty good handle on it. It’s pretty clear-cut right? Jesus dies on the cross, they bury him and three days later he’s resurrected. End of story. Bring on the ham, cheesy potatoes and chocolate eggs.

When someone we love dies it forces us to re-evaluate what we think about life, death and everything in between. You think you know what you believe until you’re forced to face it straight on. Suddenly we’re thrust into a cyclone of options and opinions; what does society tell you to think? What about past family traditions? What does Oprah say? It’s hard to zero in on one solid truth. Enter Easter.

Easter picks up where Christmas left off. Technically 33 years have passed, but by this time Jesus had lived his life, teaching all who would listen about what would inevitability happen; his death on the cross, his resurrection and what our lives will look like as believers in the wake of it all.

After the death of my son David almost eight years ago, I found myself drawn to the Easter message. He didn’t die on Easter. He died in June. Weird huh? But every single time I tried to reconcile David’s death, and I’m talking repeatedly for years, it became more about living than dying.

I found myself having this inner dialogue because David was gone. I never thought about losing my children. I didn’t think it would ever happen. I figured I would go before them. I think it’s universal. Most of us don’t think too deeply about death.

I must have missed something profound in the Easter message.  Why else did I continually come back to it? I had to explore this, and I did. This is what I learned; while the message of Easter begins with Jesus’s death, it doesn’t stop there. It’s continual. It never ends.

John 14:25-27

“All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you: my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

Ephesians 1:19-20

“I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised him from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.”

We have in us the same power that raised Jesus from the grave.
Jesus knew his life would end but he also knew we would never have to live without him.

While I was searching for a deeper knowledge about God’s spirit in me, I was simultaneously being guided by his very spirit. Wow! What a great example of how his Holy Spirit has worked through my loss, pointing me to the message of the cross and the resurrection. Yep, he knows what we need and I am so thankful! Amazing!

Our family will always mourn David’s death, but we don’t mourn as though we have no hope.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-14

“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.”

Today you’re either encouraged, confused, indifferent or just plain angry, and maybe, just maybe it’s because you haven’t soaked in the life changing message of Easter that follows Jesus’ death. Hope for the future can be found here. Hope is here. It never ends.

Happy Easter!

 

 

 

The promise of Easter

“Jesus raising from the dead is the basis of our hope.”

I can still hear my son David waking up his younger brother, “Come on Daniel, the Easter bunny came! Did you get peanut butter eggs too?!” These memories make me smile.

Easter 2017, our seventh without David. It still doesn’t seem possible. Our routine hasn’t changed much; Easter candy, church, a family dinner, then a trip to the cemetery. There we find the encouraging words of John 11:25-26 etched in David’s beautiful granite memorial stone; a scripture that reflects what he believed, what our family believes. 

“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”

Our family’s sorrow and the promises of Easter intersect with each trip to the cemetery because Easter glues together the promises of our eternal home in heaven with Jesus. Each day that goes by is one day closer to being reunited with our David. These verses serve as a reminder, and I need this reminder today. I’m missing him today. 

You may celebrate today with overflowing baskets of jelly beans, chocolate eggs and stuffed bunnies, but I hope you will stop and take time to remember what this day really signifies. Jesus raising from the dead is the basis of our hope. It means that while we may grieve today over people we wish were joining us at the dining room table, we still have confidence that God’s power isn’t bound by anything.

Dear Friend,

As you remember your loved ones today I hope you’ll be able to celebrate the hope and assurance that the Easter message brings, where the pain of our loss and hope for our future home is reconciled. I’m praying you reach for God and feel His comfort. God bless you.

Promises

John 11:25,26