Wednesday, April 4, 2012

When Easter Hurts

If I see a happy, smiling Easter bunny right now, I will throttle it. There is no flavor of jelly bean that can take away the bitterness of something like this happening. All of the trappings of the holiday that I normally look forward to and smile at feel plastic and meaningless.

Except for the cross.

A great tragedy happened on my campus today. Students everywhere were crying, whispering in their rooms, walking into the street in front of cars because they were so stunned.

Easter is about joy. All of the concerts and programs end on a triumphant note, because Jesus is risen. Death has been swallowed up in victory. And that’s true.

But we’re here. And we’re fallen. And nothing feels right anymore. When things like this happen and I wonder how a loving God could allow it, I run to the cross.

Not just because Jesus understands what it’s like to suffer, although that’s true. Not just because the crucifixion displays a more somber mood that fits with the emotions my campus is feeling right now. But because the cross proves that God is love even when we don’t understand how that can be.

I cling to that when there is nothing else that makes sense, when there are no other explanations that work for both my head and my heart.

The way we treat Easter in America doesn’t have answers for times like this. But God has the answer, and the answer is Him, the dying God, the one who gave up everything for us. No, He didn’t take away pain and He doesn’t always stop tragedy. But He loved us enough to die.

This is my favorite George MacDonald quote of all time: “That man is perfect in faith who can come to God in the utter dearth of his feelings and his desires, without a glow or an aspiration, with the weight of low thoughts, failures, neglects, and wandering forgetfulness, and say to him, ‘Thou art my refuge, because thou art my home.’”

Right now, I have no answers. I have no joy. I am hurting and confused and full of regret, like so many others. I have come crying to God from the bottom of my heart, without anything to give, stripped of self-righteousness and security and thinking that everyone is fine like they always tell me.

I’m in Good Friday right now. I don’t feel the sunrise of Easter coming. Everything is dark, and I’m scared. But I believe that Jesus died and that He died for me. No amount of confusion about why terrible things happen can overcome that.

Perfect in faith? No, not yet, George. But I’m trying. I’m waiting for the morning, and I wait with hope. Because of the empty tomb? Yes, but mostly because of the cross.


  1. Thank you so much for your honesty. Very well put. But seriously, thanks for not trying to ignore the pain. It makes me feel less alone.