Lauren Vellenga- 2015
Life is hard. So often we find ourselves saying “if only....things would get better”. If only I had a new job, if only I was on the next stage of life, if only I had more money, if only I could get this or that, if only (fill in the blank). I find myself doing this often, looking to the possibilities of what could be to solve the difficulties of now. Don’t we all? We put all our hope in the “if onlys” of a different horizon. And many times it seems to be true.
A new job or more money does make things better. Bills are able to be paid, stress is reduced, and life is good. We find someone we can’t imagine living without. We plan a big, beautiful wedding and are surrounded by tons of family and friends while we promise to love each other through it all. We go on a honeymoon and dream a bright future, and life is good. And then, just like that, it isn’t. An unexpected expense, an illness or injury, the worse comes before we have settled into the better. Let’s be honest, you and I do not do well with suffering. In a time of instant everything, we want our fix to be just as quick.
We have all sorts of advice and quick fix solutions. We try to encourage one another by saying things like “It will get better soon” and “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle”. But what happens when the quick fix doesn’t come? When the suffering continues far longer than we would like? How do we respond when those looking in are wondering where is our God and why has He allowed us to suffer?
This is where the Easter story comes in. This is where Jesus comes in. Isaiah 53:3 says that Jesus was “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” Read that again. Jesus was “acquainted with grief”, with our grief. Jesus experienced the same pains, the same sorrows that we face in our own lives, but He was different. Jesus did not let any of that define Him. Instead in His amazing love, He took on our struggles, He endured them, and He OVERCAME them.
Our resurrected King has rendered them defeated. He redeemed us. You see the Bible does not say anywhere that God will never give us more than we can handle. God makes no attempts at saying by following Him our lives will go smoothly and all prayers will be answered the way we want. He doesn’t guarantee success or health or prosperity. He never once says we won’t (or can’t) be sad. Instead, we look to how Christ wants us to live in spite of these things.
By experiencing our suffering, by living a life of love, by dying on the cross and overwhelming the grave, He defeated sin and death and because of that we can have everlasting HOPE and eternal JOY. Brothers and sisters, this Easter season with the reminder of Christ’s greatest sacrifice and triumph at the forefront, I encourage us all to take our questions, our worries, our sorrows, and our pains and instead of letting them steal our joy let’s use them to remind us that this isn’t all there is. They are temporary because CHRIST HAS CLAIMED VICTORY. All that is broken will be redeemed.
“Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in Him, because we trust in His holy name. Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.” -Psalm 33:20-22 [ESV]