My middle son was born 45 minutes before Easter, at 11:12 pm. It makes it hard to want to celebrate Easter, though I am extremely and eternally grateful for the reason we celebrate this holy day.
This year, Easter falls on the third Sunday in April. The past 2 years it has been in March, close to or on my son’s birthday, as it was the year he was born. I didn’t go to church on Easter the past 2 years because it was just too hard, too emotional. This year, I thought I would be fine, since the holiday does not fall on his birthday. But, no such luck. I am just as, if not more, emotional than in the previous years.
I have thought and said this strange and unexpected fact so many times I am sick and tired of it, but it is true – this gets harder as more time passes. The fact that he will not be returning to us gets more and more real, and that fact is totally unacceptable. I cannot, I will not accept that I will never see my middle son as long as I am still living on this earth. I simply cannot accept it. I am getting used to it. And I am learning to function around it. But I cannot accept it……………though getting used to it might be acceptance. I don’t know. I learn of myself – my feelings, attitudes, and emotional decisions – as I write. Getting used to our son’s loss seems like acceptance, even as I write that I cannot and will not accept it. But, I digress.
Easter. The most important and pivotal holiday in a Christian’s life. My son was born on this most holy day. It seems significant to me that the one I lost to heaven so early was born on the day I celebrate my hope for eternal life in heaven. “Christ in me, the hope of glory.” My son asked Jesus into his heart more times than I can remember! He was one of those – just like his mama. It took me many years to feel and believe the assurance that I was truly saved. He was like that. I loved that about him, even as I bemoaned that about him. I hated that he didn’t feel secure in God’s assurance that he was saved and would enter heaven upon the death of his earthly body. I was immediately and certainly assured of this truth about my son the morning I learned of his passing. He is eternally secure now in the presence of Christ.
We have the precious birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ to thank for this assurance. That’s why we celebrate these holy days – holidays – because Jesus made the way for us to enter into eternal life after the passing of our mortal life. He made the way by becoming flesh, just like we, his own creation, are flesh, living a perfect sinless life, dying an undeserved death on a wooden cross, His dead body lying in a tomb for 3 days, then appearing to over 500 people (evidence of His resurrection) in the 40 days after He rose from the grave and before He ascended back to heaven to live eternally with His Father again. And He isn’t living out His retirement years in heaven. He “ever lives to make intercession” on our behalf. He loves us so much, He did all that, and now constantly prays for us. My feeble mind cannot comprehend this kind of love; this depth of sacrifice. God loves all humankind with a love I cannot grasp. I would not give my son, or any of my children, for anyone. I can’t think of anyone I love like that. But God did. He gave His only begotten Son for me, for you, for everyone He ever created. He loves us that much.
My hope this Easter weekend, and every day of my life, is Christ. This world is not all there is – this earthly, fleshly, physical world. There is an eternal kingdom that we cannot yet see with our physical eyes, but it is real and my middle son is one of its inhabitants. I know this to be true, because I know he believed on the Lord Jesus Christ and his spirit was transferred from the kingdom of darkness into God’s kingdom of light. He lives. His body is sleeping, but his spirit is alive and well in his eternal home.
Does this take away the pain of our separation? Absolutely not. I have cried so many times today, remembering him, missing him, longing for him to come home. This pain is so real and so ever-present.
But I have hope. I have an eternal hope. I know I will see him again. And when I see him again, it will be for eternity – there will be no more separation, no more tears, no more sorrow – only peace and joy and love. Perfect, everlasting love.
“I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery. We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed – in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true:
‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.’
‘Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?'”
1 Corinthians 15:50-55