Today we celebrate the sweet reminder that Christ came, and suffered, and died. And we celebrate the truth that not only did he suffer, and die, but he was also raised on the third day. Raised to life. Not resuscitated or awoken from a deep sleep – but raised from death. It’s a joyful day.
As I celebrate this good news, I can’t help but think of all the small things that give us a small glimpse of the resurrecting work God is doing. Because, the truth of the matter is that Christ is the first fruits of the resurrection – that because he was raised, and he defeated death, we also experience victory. We too will one day be raised to new life and given new bodies. We will grasp hold of the imperishable hope that has been kept in heaven for us. Our faith will be made sight. I wrestle with what that even means, but in my wrestling, I know those truths are filled with more hope and joy than I could ever imagine.
But it’s true that, over the last year, the Lord given me opportunities to see little glimpses of his resurrecting work and power. That, as I look around me, I can see that he is working and always making something new out of what I think is dead. I see it in the spring blossoms I run by each morning. The trees are no longer dead but filled with buds, which will produce flowers and fruit and greenery. Winter will not last forever. Spring comes, and with it comes new life. I wonder if God prepared the seasons so that we would always have a small glimpse, a tiny glance, of his resurrection power at work. Just as the leaves in the fall die, and are so beautiful as they come to the end of their life, so we trust in a Savior who died, and his sacrifice was beautiful. But when spring comes, when the first daffodils begin to shoot up from the ground – we are reminded of the promise of the resurrection and the hope of new life.
I’m grateful that we see this truth in nature, but I’m also thankful to see it in situation after situation in my own life. I think back to my world two years ago, as I prepared to graduate from Beeson. I mourned what was to be lost. Community and classmates and friendship and life and routine. I grieved because it felt like something in me was dying. The loss of graduation seemed real – like I was saying goodbye to a person.
All of my life, I have been longing for community, even before I could put those longings into words. And what I began to know as community through my time at Beeson fell apart when people moved and things changed and the world was different. And yet I can see, two years later, the Lord working out his purposes for good. I think about the friends who are family through church, and the Sunday School class I get to teach and love, and the small group of girls I’ve had the privilege of “living life” with over the last seven months, and I can see that God redeems our heartbreaks and brings new life to what we think is dead.
I think back to past relationships and dreams that have died. To what never started and what ended too quickly, and to the heartbreak of friendships that faded. To my dreams and desires of being somewhere and doing something else, and I look at where the Lord has me, and how he is working – and, probably more importantly – what he is teaching me about himself. And it makes me grateful that those dreams could die so that I might know the truth of gospel in a more deeper and intimate way. To know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge.
It’s twilight in Crestwood. It’s a cloudy night, but you can just barely see the pink tinge of the sky, hidden by the dark clouds. Every sunset to me is a picture of his faithfulness. Every sunrise a picture of him bringing new life. I don’t say all of these things with ease. These past two years have been hard. They have been painful. They have been full of sorrow – over dreams deferred and lives lost and friends who are suffering and sickness and illness and heartbreak. Life is not without grief.
Yet, for those who trust in Christ, there is more to life than meets the eye – and more to life than what this world has to offer. Because we trust in God, who loved us enough to send Christ to die for us, we trust in his goodness and providence, even when we cannot see his face. We trust that he works all things for his glory and our good. And we trust in the hope of the resurrection – that earth really does have no sorrow that heaven can heal. I’m thankful, these days, to see small glimpses of this truth.
I’m thankful that, one day, we will see clearly – in our resurrected bodies.
I’m thankful that this is not the end, just as death and burial were not the end for Christ. For since he was raised to life, we will also be raised to life.
And I’m thankful that there is a resurrection.