It was Easter and we had invited Grandpa and Grandma over for dinner. Depression and sadness hung over my father-in-law like a dark cloud as he sat in a chair and stared. He had experienced a heart attack and surgery a few months before, and the energetic, jovial man, who loved to tease, seemed to have faded away. He had always been a very hard worker, a dedicated Christian, and a leader in the church. He also worked tirelessly around the church, fixing—cleaning—mowing—whatever needed to be done; he was there. But this thing had stopped him cold.
Our four kids bounced around as usual, extra excited because it was Easter, and after lunch we would have the obligatory Easter egg hunt in the back yard. To our surprise, after we finished eating Grandpa went outside to the car and came back with a bag of candy eggs! He went out with my husband to hide the eggs while we tried to hold the kids back until they finished.
Spots of color appeared on every tuft of new green grass and among bunches of daffodils around the yard. They were off! Squealing and laughing as they raced to fill their baskets, trying to beat each other to the prize. Grandpa chucked as he watched them enjoy the hunt.
When they came back inside, he ruffled heads as he growled his customary tease to the kids, “You’re a sack-a potatoes.” There was a new spark in his eyes, he stood straighter and his face no longer had the haggard droop. He had come back to life.
I don’t know what combination of thoughts and experience worked this miracle, and drove the darkness away, but I do know that he is a believer and the resurrection is real to him. He went on to adjust to his limitations and continue many years, helping others and serving the church. Now, he is ready to see Jesus. He is done with this life and it’s pretty well done with him. He is looking forward to real life, the life that Jesus brought when He came back alive on that third day.
I hope the reality of the resurrection swallows up whatever difficulties you face in this life, not just Jesus’ resurrection, but yours! This life is a gift from God, and we should live in the victory Jesus gained for us. But our hope is not here, and the victory that matters is the one that brings us face to face with Jesus. And while we wait, we all live out our days “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame” (Hebrews 12:1).
Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.
1 Corinthians 15:1-7
Mediate on these passages this week: John 10:7-10, 11:25-26; Romans 15:13, Hebrews 12:1-2
Check out “Go Deeper” for more discussion of the victory we have in Jesus.