This post was written with Easter in mind, but it is no less relevant at the present moment.
I can celebrate the joy of Resurrection Day just where I am, sitting at the bottom of a deep dark hole in the ground. I can celebrate not because I’ve managed to clean up my mindset for the celebration of a holy-day, nor because I’ve willed myself to feel happy about the right things to feel happy about at Easter-time.
I anticipate the joy of Easter even though.
I’m feeling the exhaustion of three years of pushing through because what needed to be done needed to be done. The stresses of life increase while my husband and I grow older and weaker in the face of them. We regularly lament to each other these days. I am downright depressed. I’ve had to realize that I am no longer the optimist who presumes the happy outcome.
Rather because of those things, I am celebrating.
Easter comes whether or not I’m ready to put on an appropriate Easter hat. Indeed I’m not where I ought to be, fully grounded in daily Scripture meditation, immersed in His Word. I’m not handling life a well as I could right now, and I know I need to focus on God’s wisdom and guidance, yet I do not open that Book nearly as often as I can. I’m trying to push ahead under my own power, which is simply foolish.
But right where I am, I can celebrate the Resurrection without fear and embarrassment before my Savior. Indeed, I can’t adjust myself so as to pretend to be presentable to him.
Too often we translate our Lord’s words as transactions rather than expressions of relationship. The question: am I measuring up well enough to face Jesus Christ right now? is foolish on so many levels. First of all, no–and you never will. Second, he already knows that. Third, he’s taken care of your unfitness already. Fourth, that’s not what he was talking about.
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
Behold, I am coming soon!
A discussion of his second coming devolves from joy to engineering as we try to discern pre-trib timelines and terrifying scenarios of judgement. Will I pass the test? Am I really in the club? I could be left behind!
The transactional view steals our joy and deadens our desire for relationship. But he is always speaking words of intimate fellowship and love.
We aren’t listening. What he said was: “I am coming back for you.”
Like you’re a child and your father must leave you in a scary place for awhile. He says to you: Don’t be afraid. Just wait here. I’m coming back for you. You trust, you sit and wait, in faith. Because he loves you more than anything and you know he would never abandon you. He will never leave behind those who are his own.
Through the haze I still know He is the one who humbled Himself to become one like me, but poorer, humbler, less regarded. He set his face like a flint toward his torture, rejection and murder. On his own behalf, he had no reason to go there. Then He made good on all the purest promises ever given. He is the One still there making Himself known to me, hour by hour. He knows just where I am, and whether the cause is a broken world or myself, he is willing to meet me just where I am.
I am a pillar in the Temple of my God. I will be given a white stone. My treasure is where my heart is. I will receive a crown of life. I have the free gift of eternal life. I will enter into the joy of my Lord. I will inherit glorious riches.
All these things, and much more, will be because He is being true, to Himself and to me. Because He is grace and love and I am so needy. It is right to celebrate the Resurrection here and now, joyfully, at the bottom of my hole.