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Sunday, April 4, 2010

He Is Risen!

Treasured Friend,

It’s days like today that make me appreciate good friends, stable health, and time together as a family. There were six of us around the Easter supper table this afternoon: my parents and I were joined by our dear friends—two adult daughters and their widowed mom. Despite all of us having endured (even as recently as the last two weeks) various trips to surgeons, doctors, test facilities, pharmacies, emergency rooms, and more, on this day we were all together and for the moment on the better side, health-wise.

I realize for you the day may have been quite different—we around the table have been through our seasons of such intense caregiving that a holiday meal together was unthinkable. That probably made today all that much sweeter for the six of us—reflecting on how God has brought us through stormy seasons, reflecting on our loved ones who are already absent from the body and present with the Lord; reflecting on the hope that keeps us going when the weeks again become Everest-like treks devoid of Sherpa guides.

Today’s shared meal was a reminder for me to keep on encouraging you to be heartened with the knowledge that seasons pass. Your load won’t be unbearable always. The hope of Easter is exactly that. There will be a day when ...

The LORD of hosts will prepare a lavish banquet for all peoples … He will swallow up death for all time, And the Lord GOD will wipe tears away from all faces, And He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth; For the LORD has spoken. And it will be said in that day, “Behold, this is our God for whom we have waited that He might save us. This is the LORD for whom we have waited; Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.” Isaiah 25:6-9 (NASB)

Imagine what that celebration will be like. Heavenly chefs placing before a gathering of saints from all nations and all generations the most lavish and bountiful spread ever tabled. And the Lord of love and grace—the Savior of Resurrection Sunday—presiding at the head as Master of the Household of Faith. Before the meal, He will come to each one and with His own nail-pierced hand brush away all tears, removing, as He does this, the last residue of sorrow and mourning and pain and suffering from our sojourn on fallen earth. With that, the joy of salvation will erupt in a magnitude never before expressed.

Looking toward this day can become our motivator—our hope—our assurance—as the long season of caregiving looms ahead of us. All this is possible, because it is Jesus’ expressed desire: “I want them to be with Me where I am.” On the night before His crucifixion Christ told the Father. “I want them to see My glory, the glory I had before the foundation of the world” (paraphrased from John 17).

That’s why there was a cross for Christ. That’s why there was a crown of thorns twisted into His brow and a spear in His side and a burial shroud draped across His battered earthly shell. That’s why there was a boulder rolled across the entrance of a borrowed tomb by hulking Roman soldiers. That’s why it took two angels in white robes to break the seal and an earthquake to roll away the hunk of solid earth and sit atop it—readying the grand announcement: HE IS NOT HERE. HE IS RISEN, AS HE SAID.

Sure the amazing news of the Resurrection stunned even His inner circle. They’d stood by helplessly—as if in the most horrid nightmare—while their Master was cruelly and brutally massacred by a crowd of easily swayed countrymen and foreigner soldiers. But with Christ’s resurrection in the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 1:4), death would no longer win—it would never be the end for those who believe in Him. The cruelest suffering on earth will pale in that day when it’s wiped away by the loving hand of our Lord. All that will remain will be our knowledge of His faithfulness, His love, His grace, His mercy—and our undying gratitude for it.

Take hope, my friend. No matter what you’re facing today, let the empty tomb be your eternal reminder that Christ didn’t just experience your griefs beside you, didn’t just carry them with you, but He conquered them once for all time for you. The tomb is empty, so your exhaustion and your care-recipient’s suffering—these do not have the last word. He has conquered, and He will one day allow you to see that the spoils of His victory belong to you.

May the truth of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ be your strength today.
Easter blessings from our home to yours!


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