Saturday, April 19, 2014

If Easter Does Not Make Us Happier, What Is the Point?

Easter is here again.

This has been a crummy week for my son. He broke up with his girlfriend. He did not get chosen for a volunteer position he really wanted. He did not get a part-time job he really wanted. He is well-qualified for both, but they did not happen.

This has been a crummy month for one of my daughters. She is grounded. She is going through one of those times when she does not feel as if anything she does pleases me. I am tough on her, and she selectively hears my words, and what she understands is frustrating.

This has in many ways been a crummy year for my other daughter. She did not get the parts or solos she wanted. She has been asked to do a myriad of behind-the-scenes things, for groups both at school and at church, that have not produced any credit and that have prevented her from doing things she would rather do.

As far as Gena and me, well, it hasn't been the greatest time either. Her health has had a series of issues. There are a number of things in my life that are tough right now.

And Jesus rose from the dead, and nothing in the previous four paragraphs has changed one bit.

Why do we Christians care so much about this resurrection if it does not solve our day-to-day problems?

To be sure, many Christians do believe that Easter makes us happier. The presence of Christ provides, so they say, their best life now. Prosperity is promised to those who walk the walk and talk the talk.

My experience teaches differently.

Jesus, both before and after His resurrection, did not promise our best life now. In fact, He said quite the opposite. He promised a life of being perplexed, hard pressed, persecuted, struck down, and carrying death around with us day to day. He told us to take up our own crosses. He commanded us to spend our time feeding sheep.

Nowhere do I find a promise for happiness, for problems to disappear, for the crummy days to vanish.

So again, what is the point?

"Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee. There I will see them."

Those three sentences from Matthew 28:10 are the point.

Do not be afraid. Death is not the end. Death has been conquered. The point of Easter is that we are on the winning side.

Go and tell. We know the secret. The point of Easter is that we have something to tell.

We will see Christ. It is not temporal happiness, but it is eternal joy. It is eternal life. The point is that we shall see Jesus, the one who died.

Crummy days continue, even crummy months. Health issues arise, things we deserve don't come, and events in our lives continue to infuriate us.

But Christ has arisen from the dead, the firstfruits of them who sleep. Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.

That is the point.