Christian Living

Family Matters 04/21/11

The Hope of the Resurrection

As I watched the accounts of the damaging tornadoes that ripped through North Carolina this week killing 24 people, I was struck by how quickly the lives of those people changed. One moment a mom was playing with her children, the next moment her house was torn apart and her children appeared listless under the rubble. Loved ones lost, homes reduced to lumber piles, power outages, and devastation were everywhere you looked.

In a strange way, the devastation focused my thoughts on this Holy Week. From palm branches waving, people shouting, “Hosanna” during the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, to the night our Savior was betrayed and later nailed to the cross, much changed for His followers. Elation gave way to despair. The Christ suffered and was put to death. What must the witnesses have thought?

Did they give in to momentary despair like the people in North Carolina could have done? Or did they try to remain optimistic, recalling the prophetic words of Christ and the Scriptures? In the natural, all appeared to be lost. The cup of suffering was not removed.

Philip Yancey’s book, The Jesus I Never Knew, points out that when Christ gave breath to his last words, “My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me?” He used the word, “God” instead of “Abba” or “Father”. Christ felt abandoned from the Father during His darkest hour.

When tragedy strikes a family, that same sense of momentary abandonment is felt. But in the spiritual realm, the darkness of Good Friday eventually gives way to the light of Easter morning. Yancey says, Easter holds out the promise of reversibility. Destruction and even death can be reversed because of what Christ accomplished on the Cross. Easter is the starting point. It is a preview of an ultimate reality. Our present lives are the contradiction of what is to come.

As the North Carolina families pick through the literal rubble of their lives and the rest of us struggle through our emotional “rubble”, Easter brings hope. If God could do what He did on Easter, then what more does He have for us eternally? Easter is a glimpse of eternity.

Yancey points out that the physical scars Christ suffered remained on His transformed body as a reminder that painful memories may never completely go away, but the hurt of those scars eventually will. As we rebuild our lives from devastating times, remember that Holy Week reminds us that someday, we all get a new start. Tears will be gone. Suffering will be no more.

That is the hope of the Resurrection.

Check out Dr. Linda’s schedule of appearances on her website calendar, and find more helpful articles on grief and loss. Sign up for her preconference workshop at the E-Women Conference in Birmingham, Ala., on May 13, 2011.