by Rene Zonner
In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not hear; he has risen!”
We in the Christian world just celebrated the event that defines our faith…the resurrection of Jesus…Easter.
For most of my life I’ve had a hard time truly understanding the despair of Jesus’ followers after his death. After all, I had the advantage of knowing how the story was going to end. I knew that there was a happy ending. I can look back and see that I really couldn’t understand the depth of their joy when they saw Jesus alive on that first Easter morning.
Until my husband died…
The first Easter after his death was different. For the first time, I could really empathize with the loss Jesus’ followers must have felt. The person they spent almost every waking hour with for three years was dead. They, like me, were surely questioning what they were supposed to do next. Who were they now that they weren’t a Jesus follower? There was probably a sense of disbelief. Could this really be happening? I’m certain they felt that sickening feeling in their stomach, the one that happens after you wake up in the morning and for a brief moment have forgotten that your husband is gone…then the truth smacks you in the face. I’m sure their futures looked bleak, there was uncertainty, questions hurled at God. All feelings that I knew so well.
That Easter was the first time I could truly understand what Mary felt when she encountered Jesus in the garden. I imagine that she was confused. I’m sure she doubted what she was seeing at first, wondered if she was imagining things. But then, once it sunk in that Jesus was alive….oh the joy! Can you imagine what joy you would feel upon seeing your loved one again? I don’t know if there are even words to describe it. And of course, I would run to tell everyone I could about the miracle that happened….just as Mary did.
None of us will be able to experience what Jesus’ followers did by having our husbands walk this earth with us again. But the promise of the cross is that we will be reunited at the time of Christ’s return. When Jesus returns and restores things as they were meant to be, we will once again see those who have gone before us in Christ. Can you imagine that day? The joy of seeing all those who we knew in this life but lost, the excitement of seeing face to face all those saints of the Bible that we never met, fellow believers from all over the globe and time together in one place. What a glorious day that will be!
As much as I am looking forward to seeing all those that have gone before me, there is an even greater joy waiting for me on that day. Seeing Jesus face to face. I imagine that moment will far exceed anything I have ever felt before. To see the love in his eyes as he welcomes me home, the gentleness in his voice as he calls me by name…oh, what a sweet day that will be!
Sisters, as we come out of this Easter season, let us not forget what it’s really about. The promise of being reunited with our husbands and other believers is a sweet and precious gift. It’s one of the reasons I have been able to walk this journey and not be beat down as one without that hope. But it is so much more. The promise is really about being reunited with Christ. It’s about being restored to communion with God as it was meant to be all along. It’s about finally being all that we were meant to be. That, more than seeing John again, is what I look forward to with anticipation.
Father, I thank you for the hope we have in the resurrection of Jesus. I pray that each one of us would remember, when we are sad and beaten down with grief, the promise the cross gives us. We look forward to the day when we can be with our husbands again and worship you with fellow believers we never met here on earth. While we look forward to that day, help us to keep our focus on the greatest joy, Lord. The joy that will come when we stand face to face with you, our Savior.