I’m mindful how clearly the reality of the first Easter bears witness to that truth.
To the Roman and Jewish officials the story of Jesus was finished; His antics securely sealed behind the stone tomb. To the disciples–the friends of Jesus–His story concluding with a sorely disappointing ending, leaving them alone, scared, and uncertain of the future. I suppose the story seemed only to be going better than expected for that lucky thug Barabas.
We’re apt to close up the hardback before the story is finished, assuming we know how the last sentence will end. We shoo hope out the door. Sealing it up. Locking it out. Resolving that the story will forever stay trapped in its current state.
When hope dies we forget what we used to believe would be the future of things.
Yet the story wasn’t over yet on the first Easter; it was just getting started! On the other side of the tomb stone, a much different story was being told.
Celebrating Easter draws us back to hope again for the things that aren’t quite yet. It beckons us to trust, wait, and to keep looking for the life our heart needs to believe in to keep it beating. Easter beckons us to respond to God’s promise that there is more than just what lies on this side of the stone. Over two thousand years ago Easter morning declared, “There is more! Keep the book open, the story isn’t over!” Today Easter is calling to my heart, “You ain’t seen anything yet! Do not let hope go!”
Wherever you are, no matter what side of the door you are staring at, do not forget that it’s only part of the story. On one side you can’t avoid the sobering reality of disappointment, regret, and maybe despair. But just because you can’t see it, the other side is there. It is there with all the victory, joy, and new beginnings of the first Easter. What has been broken on one side, can find wholeness on the other. While you wait in the darkness, hold on to hope. Hold it until the light shines. Hold on to the living, risen Jesus, who is our hope. He knows what it is like on both sides and also knows that there is more to come than what you have now.
“But God being rich in mercy because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace we have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the Heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” Ephesians 2:4-7.