Tragedy strikes. A horrible memory rears its ugly head so you re-live it all over again. A painful truth about something you’ve done grabs hold and won’t let go. Suddenly it’s just too much to handle and so you do what people do – go into denial mode by pretending it’s not nearly as bad as it is, making it the fault of someone else or putting the focus on something else – anything else – so you don’t have to deal with it. While denial seems to bring short-term relief, it only makes whatever you’re facing that much worse. But God’s truth will set you free. So face the truth of your tragedy, memory or whatever you have done. Then experience the truth of God’s love that starts right where you are and loves you all the way to where God wants you to be. It’s an incredible gift that will free you for all eternity – and it starts right now.
Some days you have a hard time believing God is active in your life. Maybe it’s because a tragedy has shaken you and your faith to the core. Or maybe it’s simply because you wake up feeling it’s just you and life, and that you’re all on your own. But whatever the reason, the result’s the same: you sometimes find yourself struggling to find a connection with God. And that’s exactly when it’s tempting to push harder to make God happen in your life. But the fact of the matter is that God’s already happening in your life because God’s always happening in your life. So stop trying to manage God and, instead, see what God is actually doing, listen to what God is actually saying and celebrate what God is actually doing. It may not be what you thought you wanted, but you’ll discover it’s exactly what God knows you need.
Some days you are certain you’re a victim controlled by what happens, how you feel or what someone else does to you. Other days you are convinced you’re captain of your own destiny who can take control, decide how you are going to live and do it your way. But, ultimately, you are neither victim nor captain – you are God’s child. So embrace who you are and let God lead you through life. Sure, it takes courage to give up control and stop being controlled, trust to choose to stop being in charge or letting others determine your fate; and faith to say, “God, you can do it a whole lot better than me.” But, in the end, this decision will allow you to live as God has created you to live. And here’s the thing you can absolutely count on: you can start doing it right now.
Easter is over. And yet it’s really just beginning. That’s because Easter is not just an event that happened long ago, a once-a-year ‘churchy’ celebration noteworthy for its great crowds, beautiful music and hope-filled message, or an annual rite of spring. Easter is the ongoing reality of the resurrection that actually has changed life so that it is ultimately more than violence and injustice; being successful and accumulating money; failure and hopelessness; what ‘trending’ people tell you really matters; or death that seems to end everything. Yes, Easter is really just beginning – in your life as you care for kids, struggle in your marriage, try to make ends meet, deal with your mother’s terminal illness, face your own imperfections and have your heart broken by all the cruelty in the world. And here’s what just may be the greatest Easter miracle of all: you can experience this new reality as your new beginning every single day.
Lord of All Life,
Today billions of us will proclaim, “He is risen – He is risen indeed!”
They are such simple words. Yet they transform everything about everything forever. Whether it’s the life we experience now, the life we dread or even the life we think we want.
Fill us to overflowing with Your resurrection life that arises out of Your unconditional, transforming and invitational love that is more powerful than addiction, injustice, poverty, hatred, sin or even death itself.
I pray this not just today when churches are filled with joyful people, beautiful music and eternal hope, but every day in the most painful, oppressing and despairing moments conceivable as You give Your new life, healing and hope to all who need it.
Christ the Lord is risen today. Alleluia!
Amen and Amen.