The sun is shining outside. Birds are singing their morning songs. Signs of Spring are finally on the horizon. In other words, in these days of Easter, Easter continues to emerge. Yet even in the midst of new life, it is often hard to move on when death and grief are still such a part of our lives.
Earlier this week, I realized that this coming Friday April 27th one year ago is when things unexpectedly changed for me. I found myself living in limbo; trying to let go of the past and look towards the future but being stuck between the two. There is a sense of melancholy and bitter sweetness that is playing in my heart and my head this week.
This past year has been one of the most difficult of my 39 years on this earth in many ways. Yet through it all, God remained faithful like God always does. In the midst of the fog, it can be so hard to see the faithfulness of God. But through the fog, God reaches out God’s hand and asks us to take hold.
Taking hold of God’s hand is not for the faint of heart. In fact, it takes a lot of courage and strength to be able to reach for that hand when one cannot even see it. Much like Thomas, we have a need to experience God like everyone else. We must trust in the midst of life’s “hills and valleys.”
Faith is trusting in the one who calls and claims each and everyone of us by name; trusting in the one who sent God’s one and only Son into the world because God loves us that much. This is a kind of love that reminds us that the journey to the cross is a powerful reminder of how God’s love changes everything.
“I used to think grief was about looking backward, old men saddled with regrets or young ones pondering should-haves. I see now that it is about eyes squinting through tears into an unbearable future. The world cannot be remade with the sheer force of love. A brutal world demands capitulation to what seems impossible—separation. Brokenness. An end without an ending.” (Everything Happens for a Reason and Other Lies I’ve Loved; Kate Bowler, P.70)
This Lent seemed so very long. In fact, at times, it felt more like 80 days or even 10 months long rather than 40 days. But the truth is sometimes we have to sit in the midst of Lent. We must feel the grit of the ashes on our foreheads. We must stand at the foot of the cross. We must experience the journey from Maundy Thursday to Good Friday to finally to Easter morning where we find the tomb empty. Too often we want to skip straight from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday. But we cannot have Easter without the crucifixion and death of Jesus.
“Easter says you can put death in the grave, but it won’t stay there.” (Clarence W. Hall)
The reality is resurrection has and continues to emerge in this broken messed up world. In the midst of the many tears that were shed before God led me to a new community, I wondered if I would continually feel stuck in the journey of Lent. And there are still days especially after the death of my friend Ben and other beloved souls that death continues to be so fresh and I still feel stuck in the dreary days of Lent.
But through it all, what I have come to see is the goodness and faithfulness of God who always brings us to the empty tomb and Easter morning. Sometimes we just need help seeing that the tomb is empty and that Christ is risen! Because when we see that with our own two eyes, we know for certain that God is always and forever faithful to God’s beloved people.
Linking up with Kelly and the Ra Ra linkup, Jennifer and Tell His Story, Holley and Coffee for your Heart and Kristin and Porch Stories!