Friday, March 25, 2016

Its not Easter, not yet. Even though the sun is shining and the birds are chirping in the trees outside my window, today marks the darkest event in human history. Within a few short hours, the One who was supposed to fix everything seemingly failed. He was destroyed by the powers his friends and followers had expected him to conquer. Within days, he went from a hero to a corpse. Hope faded back into the utter despair everyone already knew.

Two thousand years after the fact, I know that isn't the end of the story. I get to keep reading past John 19 and into chapter 20. I often read anxiously, only slowing down when I get to the part of the story that unfolds on Sunday morning. The scene where I can imagine myself following Mary through the garden and peering into the empty tomb. The moment when Jesus meets her face to face and calls out her name. The part where I can hear Him beckoning to me, too. Death is defeated and I am invited to join in His victory.

Since I know the end of the story, I seek to frame my experiences around that resurrection narrative-  one day all things will be redeemed and made right. But I'm learning to leave space for the hard parts of the story, too. I think I have to for my faith to remain authentic and alive, otherwise it becomes a fa├žade. There's a thread of pain and heartache I can't shake. It weaves this tension where I'm fighting to reconcile what I know to be true about God with how, I don't know, distant he sometimes feels?

I don't think pain and suffering are real things in and of themselves. What I mean is that they don't exist independently, or maybe I don't believe that God created them in the way he created joy and peace from nothing. Rather, they are an absence of good things. When we experience pain and suffering, maybe we are just acutely aware that things are not as they should be, that things are broken. So I don't just have to cast off losing five babies as the spontaneous dissolution of a clump of cells. Instead, I get to remember them as children made in God's image, each one valuable and precious. So to feel the pain of their absence is actually the best possible response. I don't wonder if my heartache is a series of chemical reactions simply caused by hormones because I know that the Father knows the pain of separation, too, and a scale far more grand than I could ever comprehend. To feel that loss is actually entirely appropriate.

Today, I feel strangely grateful for the space Good Friday lends to be sad and broken. I know that Sunday is coming, and when it does I will celebrate. But today I need to sit in those dark hours that haunted Friday afternoon. To feel the weight of that Saturday when confusion and questions replaced the companionship Jesus had once offered to his friends. Not to mourn as one without hope, but to acknowledge that this world is very broken. To remember that the darkness was so heavy that God, himself, descended into death to lift its curse. One day its all going to be ok, but that day isn't here. Not yet.

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