I cannot believe we are in the week of Easter.
This week feels surreal and heavy with the weight of unmet expectations for me and my family. When I envisioned this weekend I thought the stay-at-home order would be lifted. I thought we would be in church together, singing He is risen in loud voices, and then go and search for eggs in the backyard with family and break bread together with the people we love most.
But Easter will have to look different. Maybe this is hard for you too?
This post is be a bit longer than usual, but if you are like me and struggling with Easter this year, my prayer is my words will bring you hope.
This year’s Easter feels like it comes in the middle of a collective, world-wide, dark night. In this pandemic we are experiencing darkness. The darkness of separation, isolation, sickness, hurt and deep loss.
And perhaps now more than ever, we understand why we need the hope of Easter.
The hope of an empty, dark tomb being replaced by a resurrected Jesus.
Jesus speaks, ten chapters before He goes to the cross, to a group of people and He says:
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Jesus says we will never walk in darkness. But he doesn’t say we will never experience darkness.
And I think it’s because darkness, in and of itself, is not bad. I grew up thinking moments of darkness meant I was lacking faith or I had disappointed God. But the longer I walk through life, the more I’ve come to believe that darkness is simply that…. dark.
It can’t be bad because Jesus experienced it too.
As He lay in a tomb for three days, it was dark. He was alone. He was in death. I once heard my pastor say,
“Jesus was trusting that God would bring Him back to life, but in that moment as He lay there… He didn’t know if God would.”
Jesus had to trust His Father’s promise and wait.
Are you experiencing darkness right now? Maybe it’s in fleeting moments, or you are living under a haze of anxiety. Or maybe it’s the darkness of the unknown? Of feeling like God has forsaken you? Or maybe you don’t know if God will fulfill His promises?
Jesus doesn’t ask us to walk anywhere He hasn’t already been. It’s one of the things I love about Him the most.
What if Jesus said He was the light of the world not because He would erase all darkness but because He knew we would experience darkness. And in the darkness we would need the promise of His unending “light-of-life.”
Instead of dreading the dark of the tomb, what if we accept it as it is, and actively trust the promise that God will bring the light-of-life to us, because we love Him.
When I hear “light of life,”
I think of abundance not scarcity, hope over despair, grace instead of judgement, joy in the sadness and wholeness amid the shattered pieces.
Jesus makes old things new. He brings dead things to life…whether it’s a dead hope, an unreconciled relationship, or a part of ourselves we’ve given up on. Jesus knows the darkness of suffering, betrayal and heartbreak.
He knows. And He hung on the cross with arms wide open to say, “I love you.”
I give my life for you, so that you may find the light-of-life in the places you think are too-far-gone.
One of my favorite authors, Sarah Bessey wrote these words this week:
If you don’t know the dark, you don’t fully understand the power of the resurrection.”
The power of light is only understood against the backdrop of darkness.
May we make space for the darkness this Easter. May we open our arms, just as Jesus did on the cross and say, “Jesus we love you back.”
We give you all of our hearts, soul, mind and strength in this darkness.
We give you full access.
May your light shine IN us and THROUGH us.
For the darkness will never overcome your light.
If you are searching for ways to experience God’s light:
1. Sarah Bessey’s Field Notes: She is doing a series of Holy Week devotionals. It’s NOT TOO LATE to join along and read. She has brought me so much hope and perspective and was a huge inspiration for my writing this week.
2. Bob Goff: Everybody Always: I’m listening on audible and He is teaching me how to walk in the way of Jesus and find His light-of-life.
3. Some Good News with John Krasinki who’s spreading good news in all the darkness.