I have to be honest.
Yesterday, along with the rest of social media, I posted an Easter photo of my husband and I. The reasoning is simple. On holidays, people like to see family photos. That’s the way it is. So I posted the photo.
What everyone who saw that photo didn’t see was the heart behind the girl in it and what was going on underneath the surface.
Let me start with Saturday. I awoke on Saturday morning after an exhaustingly long work-week, fully intending to have the best weekend with my husband, relaxing, meandering around town, no agendas, lots of free time to do whatever we wanted, and just enjoy myself and recuperate for the week ahead.
However, when I went to the window that morning, I saw grey. I saw rain. I saw what appeared to be freezing temperatures – the kind that squelch all desire to do anything but stay home in a cozy ball on the couch.
That was the only start of it.
We attempted to have fun anyway and went to my new favorite place for breakfast and had a great time despite the rain, until about 2 in the afternoon. I received an email that completely ruined my entire day. Should it have ruined my entire day? Probably not, but it did.
I was a mess. My sweet husband tried everything he could to make me happy while I stubbornly kept sulking and not caring that I was being a complete and total brat and probably making his day off not very fun. The email was a minor thing that had a major affect on me, but that wasn’t even the worst of it.
Eventually, around 6 or 7, I came home from grocery shopping to a shocking development that I had already been battling fear over, that I will not share here. For some reason, I felt extremely fragile and like I was losing control of everything dear to me. This time, I was on the couch in a puddle of tears.
Finally, I decided I had to calm down, that I just needed to sleep, and that tomorrow would be so much better, because it was Resurrection Day and the sun would be out, and I would feel as happy as I always do on that day, remembering the miracle of Jesus’ conquering of death.
I was able to calm down until bedtime. The night was the complete worst. I did not sleep but maybe one hour total. I stayed in that constant state of half awake yet dying to sleep and kind-of sleeping, then jolting awake with mild panic attacks, trying to breathe deeply but not being able to, then crying again because I couldn’t sleep.
I don’t remember the last time I slept so horribly.
Finally, 7am rolled around, and I went to the window, expecting bright sunshine. What did I see?
SNOW. Cold, gray, dreary snow.
I fell back onto the bed and cried again. I was exhausted. I still felt as if I was losing control.
All day long, I kept waiting for the joy of the Resurrection to hit me, and to feel the wonder of Jesus’ sacrifice and deep love. I kept thinking it was going to come soon. I love this holiday and always have. Every year on this day, my heart feels so free and I feel the joy of it all.
But this year was so different.
My Easter was awful.
Why do I share all of this? A few reasons.
One, because I am a genuine person and can’t stand pretending. The photo of me smiling with my husband was all I could muster for the day.
Two, because I know there are many who just can’t seem to bring themselves to the place of joy and hope that the Resurrection should usher us to, but oftentimes doesn’t.
It doesn’t feel real. We can’t taste it.
We know that death is forever conquered, we know that Jesus is alive, we know that a miracle took place, that God did something so incredibly impossible and powerful out of the unendingly vast ocean of His love for us, but it all seems distant. Like the truth of it all isn’t touching our lives.
The fact that Jesus is risen, not just on Resurrection Sunday, but TODAY, on the Monday after, and for every single day after that, should shake our hearts with the piercing truth of His great love for us.
But what about when it doesn’t? When we can’t feel it? When we long so badly to taste that joy, but can’t?
When the resurrection itself, the event that shoved nails into death’s own coffin, seems dead to us?
Because friend, sometimes it will be this way. Sometimes the vivid gospel will feel dull and lifeless to our hearts.
But, listen. How we feel cannot ever change the truth. He’s alive, and He really rose from the grave. Death really did receive the final blow. The events that took place that weekend have forever set in stone the fact that death is never the end of the story. Our fickle emotions cannot change that, and will never change that. It’s real even if we don’t feel it. We mustn’t rely on our feelings. Faith is real, and faith is truth.
And, listen. He’s not just risen on Resurrection Sunday.
Today, on Monday, He’s still risen.
Tomorrow, on Tuesday, He’s still risen.
20 years from now, He’s still risen.
When you pass from this life, He’s still risen.
And we have this hope of glory: Even death is not the end for us.
Because what He did proved that He is greater than death. That He is stronger than death.
What He did proved that the great love of God is the most powerful thing in the universe, more powerful even than the black, dark stamp of death that is on us all. His love is greater. His love has come and stamped over our death stamp with a verdict that conquers every other verdict over our lives: REDEEMED. RANSOMED. PAID IN FULL.
Friend, this is our hope. He is our hope. He is real, and this is real, and the heart knows it, even when the heart can’t feel it.