Easter morning is a special one. Not just because it is a beautiful soflo day. Not because of the Easter basket with my name on it filled with dark chocolate (and yes, I do love chocolate). It’s more than this. Goes a little deeper. For the last few years, there have been many, many days where I have struggled to maintain belief in God.There have been temper tantrums and angry comments directed heavenward. Numerous questions gone unanswered and instead of replies, silence. This whole experience has been a new one for me. Years of faith, grace, and belief preceded these last difficult years…and for those of you yet to experience them, dark nights can stretch into weeks, weeks can stretch into months, and months can stretched into years. However, I’m not one to lie down and quietly take it for the team. So, while despair has tried repeatedly to shove its way into heart, I boot it out. When depression hovers threatening to engulf me, I reach out and grab hold of dear, strong hands that have helped me tread water and won’t let me drown.
In the midst of all this, I have wondered where God is. If He is omniscient, all powerful, and all loving, how can he allow innocent children to be abused and neglected? How can He watch as families splinter and fall apart? How can He permit hundreds of thousands of people to die from lack of food and access to clean water? Anyone who has known me well is aware of my tendency from early childhood to ask, “why.” These “whys” have persisted into adulthood and hardly a day passes in which I do not utter that interrogative at least once. What I do know, with great certainty, is that there are often no good answers. Life can be a hell of a lot of climbing with very few “reaching the summit” experiences. In fact, some of us have been camping out in the valley for years. But, on a morning such as this one, centuries ago, something either incredibly disturbing or astoundingly amazing happened. There is no gray area. If Christ isn’t God and He did not rise from the dead as attested to in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, then what a morbid hoax. If Jesus Christ IS the son of God and He was crucified, died, and rose, then it’s truly mind blowing. As for me, I’m still in a “dark night era.” I’ll continue to have days, possibly weeks, maybe even months or years where I do not see the hand of God at work in my life or around me. Yet, Blaise Pascal is a philosophy friend who spoke a lot of wisdom.
“God is, or He is not.” But to which side shall we incline? Reason can decide nothing here. There is an infinite chaos which separated us. A game is being played at the extremity of this infinite distance where heads or tails will turn up… Which will you choose then? Let us see. Since you must choose, let us see which interests you least. You have two things to lose, the true and the good; and two things to stake, your reason and your will, your knowledge and your happiness; and your nature has two things to shun, error and misery. Your reason is no more shocked in choosing one rather than the other, since you must of necessity choose… But your happiness? Let us weigh the gain and the loss in wagering that God is… If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager, then, without hesitation that He is.
So, I’m wagering He exists. That Christ rose from the dead, left the tomb, and revealed his resurrected self to a bunch of women. Sound crazy? On some level, yes. Plausible? I think so. Again, what do I have to lose? Life? We’re all going to die anyway. My sanity? Some people would argue it’s questionable all ready. So, here’s to celebrating an empty grave. This is my Easter. There will be bunnies, baskets, and breaking bread with people I love. But there’s also contemplation, meditation, and inspiration when I “virtually” peer into that deserted tomb with the women. And there’s hope. Lots and lots of it. So much that it that it couldn’t remain wrapped up in linens. It had to leave and head out into the world .
Happy Easter to my Christian friends. And for those of you who are close to my heart and think today is incredibly disturbing, shalom. And for you who are teetering on the tightrope between belief and disbelief, reach out. You’ll be surprised at the strength of the hands that will help you.