A young man writes of his mother’s death, “I was bewildered and lost. I missed my mother immensely. Everything she had touched became precious to me. Then one day my eyes fell on a card under the glass top of my dresser, I hadn’t noticed it before. It only became visible when I did a major cleaning of my room! Now I pulled it out and read: (I immediately recognized the handwriting)
For every pain we must bear, for every burden, every care, there’s a reason.
For every grief that bows the head, for every tear that is shed, there’s a reason.
For every hurt, for every plight, for every lonely, pain racked night, there’s a reason.
But if we trust in God as we should it will work out for our good. He knows the reason.
As I sat there, I could picture my mother coming into my room and slipping the card beneath the glass, as if to say: “It’s all right, HE KNOWS THE REASON.”
And what makes it all right is what we celebrate this (evening) morning. Jesus Christ has risen from the dead and we are given a new birth by water and the Holy Spirit. Because of the cross and resurrection, our own suffering, our sense of being lost and bewildered (for whatever reason) can have new meaning and purpose. Because of Easter, death doesn’t have the last word. And when I say “death” I acknowledge it can take many forms. From something physical as the loss of a loved one, to suffering loss on other levels:
- Loss of friendship
The resurrection accounts in the gospel all have slight variations (when we compare them with one another). But the one thing that is common to all of them is the powerful image of the empty tomb. That picture alone is worth a thousand words. No, Mary Magdalene, Peter and the others, Jesus’ body has not been stolen, he has risen from the dead as he promised! It almost seems too good to be true, doesn’t it? So, “why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has been raised.” There is no need to stand staring at the empty tomb.
Sometimes we stand at the “gravesides” of our own sorrows and losses, our own hurts, anger and resentment – our sins, and we ask ourselves: Why has this happened to me, or to the one I love; why did I choose the path that led to nowhere; how can I ever begin again?
The resurrected Christ stands before us and reminds us not to look for the living among the dead. He tells us not to be overwhelmed by our suffering – by our sins. The “grave” (in whatever form it takes in our life) may seem an end, but because of Christ and his victory over the cross, we have reason to hope. But we need to see things from the vantage point of eternity. And we must remember, Jesus keeps his promises, it will work out for our good. He knows the reason.
There is a rather interesting epitaph on an old tombstone in England that goes like this:
Remember man, as you walk by
As you are now, so once was I.
As I am now, so you will be.
Remember this and follow me.
To which someone replied by scribbling on the tombstone:
To follow you I’ll not consent
Until I know which way you went.
The Easter message says we know which way Jesus Christ went – and where we shall follow because of Him.