Saturday, April 03, 2010

Easter's Promise

As I sit here on Easter Eve, I must confess I have mixed emotions. This Easter means more to me than any other I have celebrated so far. The reality of death is very fresh in my heart as we celebrate the resurrection where Jesus Christ conquered death. Tomorrow we will rejoice that sin has lost its power and that 'death has lost its sting.'

Yet, tonight, my heart stings. In addition to the passing Monday of our friend Sweeney, we lost another friend (who also happens to be our accountant) to cancer this morning. He was a 38 year old father of three. He loved his family and he loved his Lord. Next week I will attend services two days in a row for men my age.

I absolutely know that both Mike & Shane are healed and whole for eternity. This faith makes the process of grieving them easier. Truly, we do not mourn as those who have no hope. Yet, my little town is full of people tonight who are sad because we have lost great friends. We rejoice for them and mourn for those left behind.

I sincerely hope this isn't misconstrued as somehow sacrilegious or lacking in faith. My heart's intent is neither. I am just being honest. Death has indeed lost its eternal sting, but I think there is a bit of earthly sting left behind. My heart feels like there is anyway.

As I was writing, I stopped to deal with some of my sadness with God. I picked up Trusting God Even When Life Hurts by Jerry Bridges. These two passages jumped right out of the book:

"Our greatest need is not freedom from adversity. All the possible calamities that could occur in this life cannot in any way be compared with the absolute calamity of eternal separation from God. So when John said that God showed His love by sending His Son, he was saying God showed His love for us by meeting our greatest need--a need so great that no other need can even come close to it in comparison. Calvary is the one objective, absolute, irrefutable proof of God's love for us."

"Any time that we are tempted to doubt God's love for us, we should go back to the Cross. We should reason somewhat in this fashion: If God loved me enough to give His Son to die for me when I was His enemy, surely He loves me enough to care for me now that I am His child. Having loved me to the ultimate extent at the Cross, He cannot possible fail to love me in my times of adversity. Having given such a priceless gift of His Son, surely He will also give all else that is consistent with His glory and my good."

He's God. I am not. He has plans. He is Sovereign. He is trustworthy. He paid the ultimate price for me. He conquered death. He can handle this.

Thank you, Lord, that you are consistent, loving and worthy to be praised. I need to be reminded of Your position--and mine. Thank you for hearing the cries of your people and sending Your comfort.

Thank you, even, for this sting that reminds me to take life and death seriously. Eternity is at stake. 

Thank you for the indisputable, incomprehensible gift of your Son. Thank you, this week, for the reminder that You have indeed conquered death.

Happy Easter!


Marva said...

Thanks JMom! I needed that tonight. As I prepare Easter baskets after the boys bedtime and we dyed eggs with them my heart was heavy. Yesterday a friend lost her Dad unexpectedly, last week we buried my Uncle and two weeks before a friend lost her quads (yes, all 4 of them) and they were buried just a few days later.

God is good and he has a plan. I will praise HIM through it all though! Counting my blessings and praying for those in pain!

Wishing yours Easter Blessings!!!

Adam and Kimmy plus Reese! said...

I went to school with Shane in Calhoun...he was older than me and I didn't know him intimately but I knew that he was fun, had a life lifting sense of humor, and came from good roots. I wrote about Shane and Sweeney recently on our blog and the impact that your words have had on my own personal life. Shane is only three years older than me and this awful disease took him so quickly. I worry for my little girl...I worry for my wife. I feel less bullet proof every day and God is bringing that image into focus with the loss of Shane. I pray for Shane's children. His wife...and his family left behind just like a prayed for Sweeney the other night. I never met Mike, but your words and his wife's painted such a perfect picture of a man living for God. I'm far from the man that these men ARE. They still live on in the witness that they presented and I only hope that God will give me the years to build such a wonderful story that they built with the time they were given.

Thank you for lifting them up in your blog. Thank you for your words, and Thank God for his divine plan that we'll never understand but only be able to reflect on in his perfect timing and grace through all adversity.

j... said...

you, your family, & those around you affected by these Earthly loses will be in my prayers this week.

rest well. trust always. HOPE in One who knows why.

The one girl said...

Lovely post. I have prayed for my friend's healing from cancer for nearly four years - she was diagnosed 2 days postpartum. She passed away Saturday morning. As I put my kids Easter baskets together and straightened the house for the next day's festivities, my heart was heavy for her husband and their two young daughters (preschoolers). And Sweeny's wife.

Aimee and Sweeney did not "lose their battles" with cancer - they conquered cancer! They are now healed and with their savior, but those of us left behind have lost their loved one. Easter has been very real for us this year too. Many prayers for your community as you all discover a new normal without these two men.

Angela said...

This was a beautiful way to put it. So glad those that passed are in His presence. I'll pray for the sting that you feel and for those around you who are hurting! When we think of how this life is just a moment in time compared to eternity...Oh the things we can not even comprehend yet!