I’ve had a lot of extra time on my hands lately. Well actually, with 6 kids (4 of whom have school at home, and the other two being 17-month-old twins) I don’t have a ton of extra time. But since we don’t leave our homes, I find I am on social media a lot more. I guess trying to pass the time?
Anyway, I was delighted to notice how many news platforms are dedicated solely to reporting good news in our world, and they are growing in popularity now more than ever! We want Good News. Our hearts were made for it. Wanna know what the best news is? Jesus died for our sins, conquered death, rose to new life and now all of us are invited to the super cool party upstairs in heaven.
That’s what our world needs to hear right now. Darkness and death are not the end. The Author of life has an ending to your story that would knock your socks off. Let’s take a closer look at Easter, specifically the three days prior to it and what this weekend can teach us.
The Cross, Our Hope
First Lesson: Good Friday: Life can be super hard and full of trials, and God doesn’t protect us from all of them. Many of us may be crying out… Lord, WHY is all of this happening? Why are we stuck at home? Why is this virus even in existence? Why are people dying? Why let this happen?
I reflect on a specific time in my own life where these questions swirled around my broken heart. In December 2015, I suffered my second miscarriage, our baby Hope. Our hearts and arms were stretched and ready to welcome her into our family. I even fantasized about having a little sister for our only daughter Grace, who turned one the day before we found out about little Hope.
But our time with her was cut short. A silent heartbeat at 12 weeks, my wailing, aching and broken heart cried out in protest! Why? We weren’t even looking for another child. Yet after making room, you take her away? We lost her during the first week of Advent: the week of Hope. Our family always sings this song while lighting the first purple candle: “Light one candle for Hope. One bright candle for Hope. He brings Hope to every heart, he comes. He comes.” My kids sang as I tried to choke out the words through heavy sobs. But each year during advent we have the perfect reminder of our little heaven sister. “He brings Hope to every heart, he comes. He comes.”
But our story doesn’t end at suffering and death, although it is a part of our story. God did not protect me from the worst pain of my life, but we chose to trust in Him and his will for our lives. I promise you, His way is better…
After his experience in the Garden, asking God to spare him from the rough road ahead, he endures unspeakable pain and suffering. He accepts his cross for us. For you. For me.
Then he dies. For us. For you. For me.
Then he is buried. And there is silence. There is no heartbeat, no breath, nothing for a whole day. It’s rare to know WHY you go through what you do WHEN you are going through it. Even his disciples, his closest friends, did not know WHY they had to go through this. Where could God be in all of this? Have you ever asked that question?
Personally, recovering from baby Hope was very hard for me. I was content not having any more children… until her. I felt this aching hole in my heart, like something, someone was missing. Matt and I decided our family was complete and we wouldn’t try for any more. But there was something within me that didn’t want to end having children with a miscarriage. It was like a professional baseball player retiring after a strikeout. I wanted to go out with a bang!
Easter Peace, Easter Joy
After the dark period of waiting, Easter morning happens. Jesus isn’t dead, He’s alive! He is not a God of death, but of life. And not just life but resurrected life! HE is a God of transforming death into life.
Two years ago I saw the Paschal Mystery play out in my own life. Matt and I discovered we were pregnant once again! We were shocked but had so much peace… something we knew came from God. We announced on Easter Sunday that our God of life is faithful and answers promises and that we would be expecting another blessing due the first week of Advent… the week of Hope. “He brings Hope to every heart, he comes. He comes.”
But as you may already know, that story got even better. We found out a couple weeks later that this unexpected blessing was not only one baby, alive and healthy, but another one was in there too! A boy (Pax Augustine) and a girl (Joy Therese), perhaps mirroring the souls we lost here on earth. A little sister for Grace AND we get to go out on a bang! This is my Easter story.
You see, God’s love for us, his plan for our lives, his transforming death into life… THAT is good news. Each of us has an Easter story. In some way, each of us has seen God transform the dark in our lives to light, the death into life.
I urge you to think about that today… What in your own life has God transformed? What in your life do you need him to transform THIS Easter? Would you share your Easter story? We all need to hear it!
Happy Easter, Everyone! He is risen! And has raised me up!
Copyright 2020 Stacy Halbach