I've been thinking through this dichotomy lately. We're not in the midst of easy days in the Casa De Britton. There are plenty of reasons for discouragement. Many of my friends are currently in crisis (others don't see that they should be in crisis and be broken over what's happening in their lives), and the days seem to pass quickly, sometimes without feeling like much has been accomplished. Life, it seems, is happening to us sometimes, more often than we're initiating things we want to happen.
That's where the empty tomb comes in.
We're often disappointed because God did not come through for us like we wanted Him to. Perhaps we can't have something we want. . . perhaps things are changing and we don't like it.
Making God the means to some other end will always end in disappointment. We either can't see/trust His providential reasons in orchestrating things a certain way. . . or we actually get what we wanted and aren't satisfied (which is inevitable).
Both of those responses come from seeing other things as ultimate. God is not the means to another end. He is the good news, He is the goal, He is our joy, He is the fountain.
Yes, we take joy in his good gifts, . . . just not in an ultimate way.
One of the less-discussed days of Easter week is Saturday. The day of discouragement and ambivalence. Can you imagine the disciples discouragement? Can you imagine the Kurt Cobain/despondent/Van Gogh levels of "who cares?" "there's no point to life!" "why did all of this happen, what was the purpose?" among the disciples?
But, then there was Sunday. Christ arose. Circumstances for the disciples did not change. But, their joy was back.
There will also be a "Sunday" for us, when we will be raised again to Eternal Life, and fullness of Joy, if we put our faith, and ultimate desire/hope in Christ (not as a means to some other end).
That Eternal kind of life is foreshadowed now in our enjoyment of God, through Christ. Have you stopped this week to think about how awesome Christ is? How glorious the Cross is? The empty Tomb? Have you thought about how ultimate and all-encompasing "the same power that raised Christ from the dead" is? And how "that is the same power that is at work in us".
Ephesians 1:18-22 (New International Version, ©2011)
18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church,
These are heart-lifting, depression-killing truths. I hope you have some time to think about them this week. There is an empty tomb. Death is conquered. The disappointments of this life will end, the struggles will end. Their power is already defeated in the cross. . we don't have to be crushed by them.
It's Saturday. . .but Sunday's comin'