All around the world, the words “He is risen” are called out, to be met by the response, “He is risen, indeed.” We remember the miracle of beauty emerging from ashes, joy from sorrow, and life from death.
In a time where trouble is apparent and tragedy stands center stage on every news platform, let us acknowledge the mystery of our Lord’s resurrection and rejoice in the hope that He who conquered the grave has called us His Beloved, and He has covered us with His love.
1 – Dare to hope. Maybe you feel like you are broken and jaded and tired beyond recovery. Maybe you feel like there is no room for you in the story of resurrection. Remember that God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but so that we could have life through Him. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.” There is room for you, dear one.
2 – Step into the light. I harbor habits and beliefs that weigh me down and ensnare me in shame. My fear and uncertainty will manifest itself in procrastination, lack of follow through, and bitter words. Sometimes the enormity of our world’s dysfunction and injustice paralyzes me. I wrap myself in apathy as a means of self-preservation, but also as an expression of pride—as if to say that I am too smart to be invested in hope. I have looked around and I have seen the pain and it is clear to see that the wages of sin is death, so I resign myself to decay and to a life in hibernation, not quite dead, not quite alive.
But all around the world, even in the harshest conditions, the sun shines on the soil and new life emerges from the dark and from decay. Even the most ephemeral wildflower stands at attention and gives what it can. I am reminded to surrender the ways that have characterized my life in the dark and to let the Love of God clothe me, cover me, and make me new. It’s not too late to relinquish what ensnares you. It’s not too late to trade your yoke for Christ’s…but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
3 – Remember that nothing is wasted in God’s Kingdom. This season, I have heard whispers of the still small voice beckoning me to surrender my despair and lean into the truth that the Fruit of the Spirit is profound. I often feel like a frivolous creature. My nature is one of storytelling and twitching around. I am not very fastidious or practical in any of my habits. I look at myself and can’t fathom how I could possibly play a role in God’s redemptive work. The need feels too great, and I feel too silly.
These words found in Zechariah 4:10 answer these fears and doubts with this encouragement, “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.” And, Galatians 5:22-23 tells us, “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
Maybe you and I are called to grand and far reaching works. But maybe the BIG things we do are composed of all the small things—the daily manifestations of God’s presence, the residue of God’s glory, and the revelation of Christ’s likeness in us. Remember that God’s love transcends all of our circumstances. Do not despise the small beginnings. Do not forget that a simple sack lunch can be used feed the multitude.
4 – Reintroduce yourself to Jesus. Sometimes the language we use to describe Jesus disregards the humility and the dichotomy of His life that is presented in the scriptures. So how do we begin to understand the mystery of Emmanuel? How do we begin to fathom liberty that is delivered by way of a Crucified Carpenter, rather than a Conquering King? How do we understand what love is?
I find that everyday I need a reintroduction. I am quick to speculate, and hasty to form my own ideas and theories. I am quick to forget what has been revealed to me of God’s goodness through Scripture and through the testimony of the saints. I find that if I return to the scriptures and bear witness to Christ’s life, I am always astonished by the boldness, the humility, the mercy, the justice that can be seen there. I forget that Jesus says things like “many who are first will be last, and the last first.” When I reset my understanding and acknowledge the limitations of my scope, I am always captivated and refreshed by what I encounter.
5 – Let yourself revel in the hope. There will be many days for doubt. Each heart knows it well. Dare to let your doubt and disillusionment take a seat and let the knowledge that you are loved, loved, loved seep from your toes to the crown of your head, fill your heart and your eyes and help you see love everywhere you look. We were all little children once. We are all still Children of God—dearly loved and never forgotten or forsaken. I don’t know about you, but the very thought of a BIG love like that make my eyes a little weepy and makes my heart feel like it’s been hugged.
© Hayley Swan
Hayley Swan believes the answer to tree swings and dance parties is always yes. She seeks to be a professional never-giver-upper, a forever learner, and an encourager of the discouraged. If someone was hiring for the position of Sugar Plum Fairy, she would apply. For now, she seeks to live a life that is marked by love and integrity and to find the sacred in the ordinary.
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From all of us at MissionFinder, we wish you a Blessed Easter. He is risen, He is risen indeed!