Sometimes, life doesn’t make a lick of sense until you look back on it in the rear-view mirror. Because when you’re in the middle, it’s a muddle.
This was my muddle: I could never figure out why the tomb was empty. I knew what the Bible said, but that didn’t seem a plausible explanation.
I used to think it all ended in the cemetery. Even Jesus.
I used to tiptoe into every tomorrow, thinking that were only tombstones in the fields, and that the best dreams got buried, and faith was pretend. And it all looked like a hollow wish upon a burned-out star. Someone would shovel clods of dirt over top of your burial vault, and that was it. End of story.
I wanted Easter to be true, and I wished and wished upon stars for Jesus to be real. I tried to pray to God, but he was so silent. At least the stars twinkled on the black-velvet sky when I lay on the cool grass of spring, out by the chicken shed.
I wore the lacy Easter dresses, and ate Dean Maiden's cinnamon rolls in the church basement after sunrise service, and I put my teenage lips to the trumpet to blare “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” from the balcony.
I had all the creeds memorized.
And no one knew how bad I ached for it to be real.
But Easter felt like a sham, a place where people’s best hopes faded into nothingness.
Maybe that’s how Jesus’ friends felt on that Friday, when every hope they held suddenly bled down the side of a hill.
How do you believe in a dead guy?
You wait for Sunday. That’s how.
You keep waiting for Sunday. Even when it’s hard. Especially when it’s hard. And sometimes, Sunday can feel years away. Sometimes, you can pray your heart out, and hear only the silence, and every day feels like a Good Friday when all you get is bad news, bad reports, another missed chance, another (fill-in-your-own-pain-here).
Even if you believe God is real, you might not believe He’s good. Maybe all you see is your hope bleeding down the side of a hill.
But Sunday? It’s coming. It really is.
Can we hold out for Sunday, together?
I lived years of Good Fridays, holding out for Sunday, swimming in doubt.
Eventually, my doubt became a blessing, not a curse. For it drew me into His word. And then, this news reporter began to pursue the biggest news story ever to hit the planet: The Good News of Jesus Christ. I studied, and I wrote. I wrote my way through my Good Fridays. And I’m not sure if I could really make sense of what I was writing. But I kept stringing letters together, like those letters might sew me together so what little faith I had didn’t fall out of me.
Looking back now, I think my heart was smarter than my brain. My heart wanted to believe, but my head hadn’t caught up yet. That’s how it looks in the rear-view mirror anyhow.
A.W. Tozer once wrote that faith is like an eye. The eye sees everything in front of it, but never sees itself. I’ve begun to realize that I had faith after all, but I couldn’t recognize it for what it was. My puny faith was groping for God, in a way that neither my eyes nor my mind could see.
My heart was gazing upon a saving God, even when my mind couldn’t make out the shape of Him. Somewhere along the line, my heart began to outsmart my head, and my mustard seed grew.
And all the while, I kept waiting for Sunday.
And I don’t wish on stars anymore.
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