Getting to Easter
“Let me just be on the other side. Please, don’t make me go through this.” There are times, seasons, of such sorrow leading to a moment when the suffering must crest, tipping us over into the other side, where healing through that grief may begin. I have been through them. Once, I prayed that very prayer, but God said, “No, you must go through the natural course of things. But it will not break you.” The next time I pleaded to find myself on the other side of it, God said, “I will make it quick and spare you the worst of what could be.” I was damaged, but not destroyed. He knows how far we can bend; He knows where we will break. There was one more ordeal. I never saw it coming. I did wake up on the other side of that moment, in the new reality of grieving. I wonder if that was God’s mercy, if going through it would have shattered me. Instead of even carrying me through, did He in fact lift me over to be on the other side where I could go on?
“My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”1 Two thousand years ago, Jesus asked that, if still in God’s will, He could just be on the other side of Golgotha. He wanted very much to wake up on Easter without going through crucifixion to get there. But God said, “No, you must go through the ordeal to do the work of salvation.” And through it He went, every moment of torture and death, paying the price for every sin ever committed by mankind. He went through the ordeal we earn for ourselves so that we can just be on the other side of the cross, with Him in fellowship with our Father. And for every human ordeal that we do have to go through, He will be there with us. As agonizing as it ever may be, we do not have to walk alone. “…surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”2 To accept and celebrate with joy the unfathomable gift of reconciliation to God, this is what Easter is for.