Easter: From Doubt to Joy

“So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples” (Mt 28:8, NIV).

ResurrectionToday is Easter – a wonderful time to celebrate new beginnings, God’s grace and the hope of eternal life. While the colorful eggs and the chocolate bunnies may only last a day, the message of Easter can sustain us everyday.

Do Not Be Afraid

The women who came to visit Jesus on Easter morning came in sorrow and grief. They were prepared to anoint Jesus’ body with spices. Instead, they became the first witnesses to the Resurrection.

God is still in the resurrection business. Stalled dreams, broken relationships, frustrations and doubts – all the losses of life are no match for the hope found in the Easter message. The angel told the women, “Do not be afraid.” These words remain relevant for everyone ready to embrace the surprise of joy after a season of waiting in despair.

Come and See

The angel’s next instruction to the women was to “come and see”. God understands our desire for evidence even as we try to live by faith. The women had the chance to examine the empty tomb to bolster their belief in the resurrection. They took advantage of this opportunity and then left the tomb in a rush to share the good news with others. Of course, if their fears had overruled their faith, they might have ran for home without ever stopping to consider the possibility that the good news was true.

The promise of eternal life and forgiveness was waiting just a few steps away, but the women had to take those steps in faith. In any journey from discouragement to hope, from defeat to victory, from promise to fulfillment, we always have to take some steps in faith.

Go and Tell

When the women hurried away from the tomb to share the good news with the disciples, they were “afraid yet filled with joy”. Sometimes something is just so wonderful that it inspires awe bordering on fear. Finding life after death, wholeness after brokenness and direction after confusion can be so fabulous that we become overwhelmed. However, now we are overcome with joy instead of doubt. We have made a discovery worth sharing with the world.

In my book, Questioning Your Doubts: A Harvard PhD Explores Challenges to Faith, I explore how I found the Easter message relevant for everyday life. As a trained scientist, I appreciate the quest for evidence – the call to “come and see”. As a minister and an author, I have answered the call to “go and tell”.

I draw inspiration from the Easter message in the small challenges of life as well as the big decisions. While waiting for a response from an editor or news about the status of a project, Easter reminds me that good things can come after a season of waiting or an experience of loss and closed doors. Life prevails over death as surely as spring comes after a long, barren winter.

How does the Easter message encourage you?

Nine Images of Resurrection from Writers

images-1How do we describe an event that is beyond words?  Here ten writers share images of resurrection.  Enjoy!

“They looked round. There, shining in the sunrise, larger than they had seen him before, shaking his mane (for it had apparently grown again) stood Aslan himself.” C.S. Lewis, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe

“It always amazes me to look at the little, wrinkled brown seeds and think of the rainbows in ’em,” said Captain Jim. “You couldn’t hardly believe there was life in them tiny things, some no bigger than grains of dust, let alone colour and scent, if you hadn’t seen the miracle, could you?” L.M. Montgomery, Anne’s House of Dreams

“Death is not a wall, but a door.” Peter Marshall

“Nations, like stars, are entitled to eclipse. All is well, provided the light returns and the eclipse does not become endless night. Dawn and resurrection are synonymous. The reappearance of the light is the same as the survival of the soul.” Victor Hugo

“You can only come to the morning through the shadows.” J.R.R. Tolkien

“We’re all fallen people in a fallen world. Where does a man find healing amid so many broken places? How does he find love in the ruins and vine-wrapped shattered pieces of his own soul? Because love’s springing up through the rocks.” Charles Martin, Wrapped in Rain

“What people don’t realize is how much religion costs. They think faith is a big electric blanket, when of course it is the cross.” Flannery O’Connor, The Habit of Being: Letters of Flannery O’Connor

“It was as if her life was a huge kaleidoscope, and the kaleidoscope had been turned and now everything was changed. The same stones shaken, no longer made the same design.” Betsy Byars, The Summer Of The Swans

“It was no accident, no coincidence, that the seasons came round and round year after year. It was the Lord speaking to us all and showing us over and over again the birth, life, death, and resurrection of his only begotten Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ, our Lord. It was like a best-loved story being told day after day with each sunrise and sunset, year after year with the seasons, down through the ages since time began.” Francine Rivers, The Last Sin Eater

Happy Easter! Write something beautiful today!

Betsy and Laurie

http://www.WritingSisters.com

What Does Easter Mean to You?

Here it is– midnight MST. I’ve survived twelve+ hours in the ER on a Friday night, full moon (it must be!), holiday weekend. For those of you familiar with emergency departments you know I listed those out because it meant we got our tushes kicked a little bit. Not enough staff. Too many sick kids.

I am tired. I get home…

And. There. Is. No. Post.

Which means there is no happy new post for you… our trusted friends, our fabulous readers. I’m thinking– no one is going to notice. It’s Easter! Anne’s post was amazing and can hang out all weekend. This will be unedited and full of typos (can I wake Sarah up to have her proofread?)

But then, something stops me from shirking my responsibility. I start thinking I really should step in and write something– substitute for the person who was supposed to post. And I really don’t want to right at this moment in time. My warm bed is sweetly calling my name.

However, the thought of substitution comes to the forefront. Now, I’m not one to clearly hear God’s calling. I would possibly dare say I’m tone-deaf. I’ve prayed for God’s Will to be left as a gold note card on my pillow for me in the morning. For me, God’s voice is more like a subtle whisper in a hurricane that I have a hard time tuning in. What I have learned though is sometimes these instances (like no blog post) are orchestrated by God to create opportunities for other things, and I’m wondering if this forgotten post was left open for me to write to bring the thought of subbing for someone else to mind.

This is what Easter means to me. Christ as substitution. His death as a covering for my sin so that if I believe in what He did as He hung on a cross, nails through his hands and feet, a crown of thorns on his head– one of the most painful deaths a human can suffer– I can have the glory of heaven.

Grace. Mercy. Innocence hung for me…

So, maybe my foray into writing my novel, which led me to an appointment with Greg Johnson, which led him to take me on as a client, which (for some strange reason!) led him to ask me to help run this blog was meant to culminate in this one moment in time where the Easter weekend post was empty (like the tomb was in a few short days) so I could write about the thought of substitution and what it meant for me…

And what it means for you…

May you have a blessed Easter.