Why I’m Longing for Easter Right Now

Easter TombSometimes, you know something, but you don’t really know it.

Maybe you know it for years, and then all of a sudden, one day, the topic comes up in a fresh way, and you have this epiphany that causes you to see things in a whole new light. And you wonder, Why didn’t I think of that before???

I’ve known for years that Jesus lived in unspeakable glory in heaven with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Likewise, I’ve known that Jesus came to earth, which wasn’t really glorious at all in comparison, and that while He was on earth, He suffered all kinds of indignities and mistreatments (the biggest one being, of course, His murder).

But God reached down to my heart and mind through the words of this week’s sermon and helped me “get it” in a way I never got it before.

Lately, I’ve been struggling with, well, lots of things. Lots of pressure, stress, discouragement, and grief. I’ve been asking some raw questions. Why do I have to suffer so much? Haven’t I had far more than my fair share of suffering in this life? Is life going to be like this forever?

But, Lent.

For those of you who don’t know, or who never really thought about it (as I didn’t until becoming a member of the Anglican church), Lent is basically the 40 days preceding Easter. On Mardi Gras, or “Fat Tuesday” (which I know you’ve heard of), people have a party. The idea is that the next day, Ash Wednesday, they begin to engage in the spiritual disciplines of denial.

One reason for this denial to remember Christ’s suffering here on earth—not just His suffering on the cross, but His suffering in even having to be here at all.

Even Jesus suffered on earth, which led to my first realization: Why shouldn’t I suffer? Do I really think that I deserve to escape that which even Christ had to go through? If only I could remain on the Mount of Transfiguration, basking in the glow. But I can’t. Even Jesus had to come down off the mountaintop, and so do I. That spiritual glow that I feel sometimes when I’m feeling particularly close to God and all is right with the world is only a step on the way to the Garden and to Golgotha.

I can’t remain on the mountaintop forever.

Lent is basically a microcosm of life. We start out grandly and gloriously on Mardi Gras (as Jesus started out grandly and gloriously in heaven). Then, we enter into suffering, just as Jesus did. Some people who observe Lent also observe a “break”, where they do not have to observe the denial they’ve been observing through the rest of the season. That’s kind of like how it is in life. We get breaks sometimes. The fact that we suffer doesn’t mean there are never any good days.

But after the break, it’s back to suffering. Until…Easter! Just as Jesus suffered until, well, Easter, when He again returned to His former glory and no longer suffers.

Friend, hear me: Easter is coming for us, too. For you and for me. And praise God that it is! Our suffering won’t last forever. It might seem like it’s eternal, but it isn’t. Easter (or, in our case, heaven!) is coming.

It’s coming as surely as seasons pass, and days, weeks, months and years. Each moment of suffering that we endure is only getting us closer to our Easter, the time when everything will once again be made glorious.

It isn’t quite Lent, yet. Maybe that corresponds to the fact that life is pretty good for you right now. It’s even pretty good for me. When I step back and look at the things that are weighing heavily upon me, I have to realize that I still have a pretty good life. But suffering will come. In some form or fashion, it will come.

But it won’t stay, at least not forever.

Easter is on the way.

Revelation 7:17—The Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. (ESV)

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