A funny little thing happened on Easter about sixish years ago. My husband and I got into an argument as we headed into the church parking lot. When I say we were arguing, I mean he was doing all the talking, reacting to something I had said, and I was sitting there with my mouth shut because I was too angry and hurt to speak.
Granted things were not going well between us at that time, but the big blow up hadn’t occurred yet either (you can read a little about that here). However, I was past the beginning stages of not liking him.
I dropped the kids off at Sunday School and then joined him in our service.
Easter Sunday. The day we celebrate Jesus rising back to life, defeating death! Without this day, Christians have nothing to believe in. Not one thing.
Christ the Lord is risen today. Alleluia!
Sons of men and angels say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heav’ns, and earth, reply, Alleluia!
Our pastor, at times, likes to have us say things to people sitting beside us in the service. Things like “You look great today.” or “God has a great plan for you.” Something usually upbeat and positive. I do like the pastor but I’m not a big fan of this, but whatever.
That Easter morning he told us to say to our neighbor, “You have no clue how much God loves you.” I looked at my husband and through clenched teeth said, “You have no clue.” He said, “What?” I said, “You are clueless.” Then the fight started all over again. Right there. In church. On Easter Sunday. Totally my fault.
Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once He died our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where thy victory, O grave? Alleluia!
I tried to listen to the sermon, but I was consumed that morning with loathing the person I had once loved enough to marry. I don’t know what came over me. I couldn’t stop it. I felt slightly guilty especially considering the day, but I simply couldn’t get past the ugliness that was welling up inside of me.
I decided to go forward for prayer only because a certain person was available. I didn’t know him but did know that he didn’t have a reputation for being particularly sympathetic or much of a softie. I didn’t want consolation. I didn’t want empathy or sympathy. I wanted someone to grasp my reality without me having to sugar coat it and say it in a nice, Christiany way.
“I can’t stand my husband,” I told him. He looked at me with a hint of surprise and said, “What?” “I can’t stand my husband. I can’t stand to talk to him. I can’t stand to be near him. I just can’t take it anymore and I don’t know what to do.”
Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids His rise, Alleluia!
Christ hath opened paradise, Alleluia!
We talked for a few moments and then he prayed for me. I settled down on the inside, but it wasn’t until later that evening that my husband apologized for how he’d been treating me. Things did get better between us for a little while. At least long enough for me to catch my breath and rest up to get through what would be the most difficult time of our marriage so far.
It’s been a few years since that very long, dark storm passed over us.
The time between that Friday and Sunday when Jesus was dead must have seemed like an eternity to those who followed Him. Their hearts were broken. What may have seemed certain before was left in tatters. He had said come follow me and then, out of nowhere, He was arrested and crucified. It all happened so quickly, so suddenly. This couldn’t be how it was supposed to be, but they could do nothing to change what had happened. He was dead. Where do we go now? What do we do?
Then a funny little thing happened. Little by little, He made his presence known. First, an angel told the women He was alive. Then Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene and, I’m paraphrasing, said, “Hey there” much to her surprise. Then He took a stroll with a couple of guys walking to Emmaus who somehow didn’t recognize Him until they ate together. Then He popped in on His disciples one night. Then a few days later, Thomas finally got to see Him. Then a few more people saw Him after that.
When life becomes difficult and confusion reigns, don’t lose heart, the resurrection has happened. There is hope. It may just take a little time for the news to reach into our troubles. When we least expect it, in the middle of our grief and confusion, we might just see Him.