"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." 1 Peter 1:3 (NIV)
It was Easter, but I didn't want to celebrate. My head knew the truth of new life, but my heart felt like I was living in a valley of death.
Every Easter we had sung songs about Jesus conquering death and rejoiced at His resurrection. Normally it was a glorious celebration, but not that year.
An outsider might have scoffed. I wasn't dealing with real death, thankfully. Instead, an avalanche of daily deaths was burying me. My heart was breaking over the end of a ministry at church I loved.
We thanked God for our adopted daughters, but their severe needs forever ended my family the way it was. And because of those needs, I was having to close doors of opportunity that brought me great joy. One "death" after another faced me.
As I stood that Easter Sunday, arms raised in pleading more than praise, with tears streaming down my face, I begged God, "I know You raised Jesus from the dead. But will You conquer my death? Will You redeem what feels like death here and now?"
The power of my emotions poured out in waves of grief.
Before then, I had not admitted to myself that what I faced felt like death. But there it was. Putting a name to it helped. The song ended, I dried my tears, and the service continued. No lightning bolt flashed, but my heart felt a little lighter.
In the coming weeks I allowed myself to feel the grief of loss. When sadness swept over my heart, I returned to my same questions: God, I know You can, but will You conquer my death?
I prayed for new life to come into my areas of "death."
Interestingly, a month later I went to a conference where God opened floodgates of inspiration and ideas. I left more excited about the future than I'd been in years. One day that summer, I realized God had eased my heart over the loss of the ministry I had loved.
In late summer, God handed me an incredible gift of another ministry job that I could manage in my crazy schedule. In early fall we found a therapist who could help our family with one of our daughters. Within months of my pleading prayer, it became obvious God was resurrecting what seemed dead.
While my circumstances weren't changed in every situation, my heart was comforted. My hope was resurrected.
Jesus showed me He is the Conqueror of all death: here in this world and forever. God answered my question and prayer with a resounding "Yes!" Yes, He can and will conquer my death. I don't have to wait for eternal life to experience my own resurrection of the heart. And neither do you.
Dear Lord, I praise You today for Your power over all death — both physical and emotional — here on earth and for eternity. Thank You for caring about the loss in my life, and bringing Your resurrection power into my everyday problems. I give You my grief and pain, and ask for Your healing touch to bring new life. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Related Resources:P31 Woman magazine
for a monthly dose of God's peace, purpose and perspective from Proverbs 31 Ministries, Senior Editor Glynnis Whitwer.
Visit Glynnis' blog
today for a list of encouraging verses.Worship: Nearing the Heart of God
by Brian T. Anderson & Glynnis WhitwerBittersweet:Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way
by Shauna Niequist
When you purchase resources through Proverbs 31 Ministries, you touch eternity. Your purchase supports the many areas of hope-giving ministry we provide at no cost. Therefore, we are extremely grateful for each and every purchase you make with us. Thank you!Application Steps:
Read 2 Corinthians 4:10-18. If you feel overwhelmed by troubles, make a list of everything that is bothering you. Then, hold each concern up to the truth in these verses. Say aloud, "this is achieving eternal glory."
Are you facing the death of something you love in your life? If so, take time to acknowledge it, and allow yourself to grieve.
Is it difficult to acknowledge the depth of loss? If so, why is that?Reflections:
Romans 6:4 (see below) speaks of the promise of "new life." What does that mean for a follower of Jesus?
1 Corinthians 15:54, "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.'" (NIV, 2011)
Romans 6:4-5, "We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his." (NIV, 2011)
© 2011 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.