A Returning Friend

There is nothing like looking up into the eyes of a friend when your heart is breaking. To be able to look into a face filled with love and compassion and to read in their expression sorrow for your sorrow… there is no comfort like it. Though there seemed to be no hope before, courage can’t help but rise with the knowledge that an ally is near. It is a beautiful thing.
Every year as Easter approaches, I feel as though it is just such a friend. In the spring of every year, Easter comes to me with its promise of resurrection, with its life-altering truth and with its unquenchable hope. I don’t know what the past year has held for you. I don’t know what losses have occurred or what brokenness has disrupted the tranquility of your life. Perhaps there are faces now missing from your world or dreams that have been set aside. I don’t know the winter you have had to pass through, but let me just remind you today…Easter has come. Easter has returned–hand outstretched to you, eyes eagerly seeking yours. Easter has come to sit by your side in your suffering. You see, Easter isn’t a friend that is unfamiliar with pain or heartache. Easter knows. Easter knows about betrayal, sacrifice, death and loss. The Easter of the world–with its bunnies and chocolate eggs–may try to gloss over the more painful experiences of life, but the Bible’s Easter knows that life is not without agony. True Easter knows about tears and sweat drops of blood. Real Easter does not mock your heartache. It doesn’t ignore the suffering you are even now experiencing. As you see Easter approaching you, see a friend approaching who understands. And yet, Easter has so much more to offer than just understanding. Easter is by no means a silent sympathizer. It draws near us, and it speaks. It whispers its message over and over, “Hope…Hope…He is risen! There is hope!” You see, Easter began the glorious reversal of suffering. Jesus Christ came, suffered for the sins of humankind, died, was buried and rose again.
Easter cannot help but take our hands and assure us, “All is not lost…” Easter reaches for those who do not know the forgiveness of God and bids them, “Come! Know forgiveness. Find peace. Find true rest!” Easter reaches for those who know the forgiveness of God and bids them, “Be patient…not much longer now! The pain, the sorrow, the heartache, it all will end. Joy is before you!” Again and again, year after year, Easter has taken the hands of the hurting and breathed its words of hope. Again and again, year after year, the hurting have felt their courage rising in response to Easter’s message. I pray this year, you will be one of them. Whatever your sorrow, whatever your pain–there is hope because of Easter! Look up into the eyes of a friend. You don’t have to pretend the sorrow in your life isn’t real. You don’t have to hide it in order to meet Easter’s gaze. Simply look up–meet Easter’s loving face and listen as your friend reminds you, “There is hope. Remember, He rose again! There is hope for you.” I pray God blesses you all this Easter time.