Wednesday, March 14, 2012

My Thoughts on Easter of Late

Recently, I talked with several people, all from different walks of life, who are going through profound suffering. I guess we all have our tale to tell. We all have our burdens to bear. If you don't already know this about me, I will disclose here that several years ago I went through a very difficult divorce. It almost killed me, literally. I was very sick through that time and disillusioned with God. Every Christian paradigm I knew seemed suddenly shattered and laid in pieces around my feet. Those were dark days to be sure. Through time, I learned that God in His own way was actually delivering me from strongholds, physical and spiritual. I am remarried now and I can't believe how much I love this man. Through thick and thin, we share a spiritual foundation that brings us much joy and wholeness. I am so, so grateful for my Phil. I know that situations in life don't always end happily as my marriage scenario did. For some reason, God saw fit to allow me to see purpose in the events that preceded my marriage to Phil. He allowed me to see how He takes brokenness and creates wholeness. He took my divorce, something that seemingly had no reason, and redeemed it - redeemed me and showed me deeper levels of Himself through it. I learned that no matter what things look like, He is faithful.

Although I don't always want to do this, I am choosing to trust in that faithfulness these days with our current adoption situation. I am 45 years old. Phil and I are a "waiting family" with an adoption agency and we long for the day when we can become parents. We are in the fourth long year of the process and there are many days when I direct my bitterness at God and question His goodness. I think back on when I first wanted to be a mom. I was 26. That's almost twenty years of living in barrenness. The pain is deep and sometimes I question God like I did through my divorce, but something happened today that allowed me to catch a little glimpse into God's higher purposes. I saw that God's purpose for my life is still very tangibly getting worked out through the most surprising situations. He creates beauty through suffering, because He is beautiful.

Then, I thought about Easter. I think we live in a fallen world where we will all, to some degree, experience suffering and sorrow. It is a difficult life filled too often with brokenness. But there is deep significance in Easter. Easter means that God has redeemed the brokenness, the pain, the sorrow, the seemingly random cruelties of this world through His Son. I know that may sound "religulous" but when I connect with that idea, it's so personally meaningful. Here are the lyrics of a hymn I heard today.

Come, ye sinners, poor and needy,
Weak and wounded, sick and sore;
Jesus ready stands to save you,
Full of pity, love and power.

I will arise and go to Jesus,
He will embrace me in His arms;
In the arms of my dear Savior,
O there are ten thousand charms.

Come, ye weary, heavy laden,
Lost and ruined by the fall;
If you tarry till you’re better,
You will never come at all.

View Him prostrate in the garden;
On the ground your Maker lies.
On the bloody tree behold Him;
Sinner, will this not suffice?

Lo! th’incarnate God ascended,
Pleads the merit of His blood:
Venture on Him, venture wholly,
Let no other trust intrude.

I think about the words, "View Him prostrate in the garden; on the ground your Maker lies. On the bloody tree behold Him; Sinner, will this not suffice?" How can I need more than this? The idea that my Maker sacrificed so much for me, out of His total, all-consuming love. This is a fallen world, to be sure - but He has redeemed it. Then, I remembered this song ... (I'm not kidding - I was crying on my way home from work as I listened to this. I could barely see the road - don't tell my mother.)

Here the bells ringing
They're singing that you can be born again
Here the bells ringing
They're singing Christ is risen from the dead

The angel up on the tombstone
Said He has risen, just as He said
Quickly now, go tell His disciples
That Jesus Christ is no longer dead

Joy to the word, he has risen, hallelujah
He's risen, hallelujah
He's risen, hallelujah
Hear the bells ringing
They're singing that you can be healed right now
Hear the bells ringing, they're singing
Christ, he will reveal it now

The angels, they all surround us
And they are ministering Jesus' power
Quickly now, reach out and receive it
For this could be your glorious hour

Joy to the world! he has risen, hallelujah!
He's risen, hallelujah!
He's risen, hallelujah, hallelujah!

He is the Great Redeemer. He will redeem my suffering. He will redeem yours. And maybe we will get to see a glimpse of His beauty through it all. I will pray that is the case for you.