Just over a week ago we celebrated Easter . . . the greatest holiday of the year because Jesus rose from the dead. For the first time, I realized how hard Easter can be for those who have lost loved ones. In case you don’t know, my 24 year old niece died in a horse riding accident last November. Since then, we’ve lived through Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Anna’s spiritual birthday. But for some reason, this past Easter morning was difficult for me.
As we sang marvelous songs about Jesus death, sacrifice & resurrection that morning, I was reminded of Anna’s death. Pain was evident as tears streamed down my face. Out of all the holiday celebrations through the year, death is most evident on Good Friday when we remember Jesus’ sacrifice as He died for our sins. Three days later, we celebrate Easter, the day Jesus conquered death forever.
We can’t celebrate the joys of Christ’s resurrection without going through death.
Just like all men, Anna succumbed to death. As I thought about Anna, I was sad. However, I did rejoice in Truth. The Truth is Jesus overcame the grave. He is no longer dead; He is risen indeed. As we sang this chorus, I rejoiced in it’s truth:
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow
…(even without Anna or other loved ones here)
Because He lives, all fear is gone
…(even my fear of future days on earth)
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living,
Just because He lives!
What does this matter to you?
Maybe you haven’t lost a loved one. Or maybe you aren’t in the midst of trials & suffering. Maybe you’re rocking along, homeschooling your kids. Things are pretty good. I’m reminded of 2 messages I heard that answer the question, “So what, that Jesus rose from the dead?”
1. Failure is not Fatal
Your life might be great right now, but my guess is you’ve experienced pain & suffering in the past. For me, the past 10 months have been heart-wrenching; the most difficult time of my entire life. In fact, 5 months before Anna died I entered a living hell here on earth. Watching the enemy use human mistakes to ruin lives has been devastating. But I know my mistakes & others’ mistakes are not fatal, nor are they final. Jesus conquered the grave and He conquered sin.
If Christ has not been raised, then . . . you are still guilty of your sins. I Corinthians 15:17
If Christ did not rise from the dead, then my past is still a major problem. And, I would be the only one responsible for my sins. If it’s dependent on me, I don’t have a chance to overcome sin. The cool thing about it is through Christ I can overcome my sins here on earth. My sins are in the past and I can move forward, getting a second chance. I may not understand how, but God helps me overcome my sins here on earth.
That’s powerful and exciting to me! What about you? Is that a good “so what” answer?
2. Life is not Futile
Does one day roll into another? Do you wonder what your purpose is in life?
When I was homeschooling, I sensed a great purpose as I raised our kids. I could see my calling quite clearly. Now that my kids are all out of the house, I search for purpose in my life; purpose in the midst of trials. God continues to place trials in my life. Just a week ago, I was placed in the midst of another situation of unforgiveness. It’s exhausting and I sometimes wonder why I’m here. Take me home, dear Lord.
But I’m still here and God has a purpose for my life.
If Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless. I Corinthians 15:14
Paul’s occupation was preaching. It was useless if Christ did not rise from the dead.
My occupation as a homeschool mom or wife is useless if Christ did not rise from the dead. My present circumstances will be doomed to failure. I don’t have a chance. I accomplish nothing. I am bound by my own flesh.
But He did rise, so I’m able to live a life full of purpose. I have the power, through the Holy Spirit, to live in the midst of pain & suffering as I have these past months.
Looking back, I feel more purpose in the midst of my deep pain than I have in a very long time. I am walking more closely to the Holy Spirit than any other time in my life. He is sustaining me. Thank you Father, that I serve a “living God”.
3. Death is not Final
We all have a one-in-one chance of dying. Right?
If Christ did not rise from the grave, our earthly death is the end. That’s it. No more after earth! If that’s true, we should do all we can to hang on to this life because there is nothing else.
In that case, all who have died believing Christ are lost! And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world. I Corinthians 15:18-19
My future is totally uncertain if Christ did not defeat death.
But He did defeat death & sin! So, my future and my hope is in a living God. A God who died and rose from death three days later.
I know where Anna is right now . . . in the presence of our Lord & Savior. Because of the resurrection of Christ, I know that Anna’s life did not end in November 2016. Her life actually began as she entered into the eternal presence of our living & forgiving God.
If you are unsure of your past, present or future, please feel free to reach out to me. Or, read the entire chapter of I Corinthians 15.
I hope I communicate my thoughts in a way that inspires you to move past your mistakes, move past your current pain & suffering and move into a hope for the future with God forever. But I am unsure of my communication abilities. So, I trust God uses this blog to communicate His truths, His hope and His power over death & sin.