Sometimes in the dark of the night I think about what might have been. You know—the kind of night when sleep won’t come and the past fills our minds. I think about my loved ones who have moved on to heaven. I wonder what they are doing and if they remember life here on earth.
I think about the apostles and wonder if they felt left behind when Jesus ascended to heaven. I know Luke 25 tells us that after Jesus blessed them, He left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God. However, I wonder if in the middle of the night when they couldn’t sleep if they ever wondered what Jesus was doing and if He remembered his life here on earth.
But then I remember that Jesus was fully alive when He ascended into heaven.
Edna St. Vincent Millay wrote a poem entitled, “Of Death I Do Not Approve and I am Not Resigned.” This poem resonates with me and I find a small comfort in knowing someone else has had the same feelings as I have. I’ve struggled so many times with the emotional earthquake of losing loved ones and I find no comfort in the finality of death. My soul cries out at the injustice and the loss. No, I do not approve and I am not resigned.
The amazing thing is God Almighty did not approve of death either. When Jesus saw Mary weeping and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled and asked where they had laid Lazarus. Come and see, Lord, they replied. And Jesus wept … John 11:33-35
Jesus wept … With His tears, God tells me that He did not approve of death any more than I did, that He was not resigned, and that He was not willing that any should die. This God, this God who is love, this resurrected living God, this incredible God who created man and woman, was not willing for His loved ones to return to dust.
God had a plan to save His created people, not to harm them but to help them. He did what no one on this earth can do. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, who not only paid the price for our sins, but defeated death when He gave up His life on the Cross. He returned to life three days later and conquered death for all of mankind and for all of eternity. Jesus did this out of love for the Father—and for you and me.
Jesus wept…Here is the comfort for my soul. God is not off in the clouds watching, He is here now. Here, God gives me hope for a future. Here, God gives me assurance that the dead will rise, that I will see all my loves’ faces again.
Just like everyone, I struggle daily with this imperfect world. My journey has been a long and uncertain one mingled with both good and bad times. And yes, sometimes in the rawness of grief I falter, but the Lord always reminds me He is with me and this earthly place is not my final destination. I am convinced this world is only temporary and that death has been defeated. There will be a time when the imperfect will be made perfect, when life will be fair, when pain and grief will no longer exist, when sadness will be replaced with joy, and Christ Jesus will reign.
Easter is why we don’t give up.
Easter is the day Jesus rose from the grave and defeated death. Because of Easter, “The trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed … Death is swallowed up in victory.” 1 Corinthians 15: 52.54
Easter is the day that gives me hope. Easter is a day of celebration, a day to celebrate life and to remember Almighty God loves us and we will see our loved ones again.
Left behind—temporarily…But I am comforted in the knowledge that God can and will make everything new and right and beautiful and perfect someday. I am comforted in His promise of an eternal future for all who believe in His Son. I am comforted in His promise of a grand reunion with my loved ones.