“Then the angel said to the women in reply,
‘Do not be afraid!
I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified.
He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said.
Come and see the place where he lay.’ ” Matthew 28
I am so broken, and my human weakness is sometimes overwhelming. This week, I received my third round of chemo. Like usual, I spent a few hours receiving drugs Monday at my doctor’s office, and then left Tuesday hooked up to two bags of chemo drugs that stay in my purse connected to me for 96 hours. In my mind, I knew that in 96 hours I would return to my doctor’s office to receive more drugs for a few hours and be unhooked from my pack. And yet, all week, I struggled to accept the extra weight I was carrying. It drove me crazy. Tuesday, it took me eight times to get my shirt on over all of the wires. Wednesday I tried to take a bath and ended up getting my PICC line wet which sent me into a state of panic (don’t worry, everything is fine!). Thursday, I was just cranky and complained about the extra weight I had to carry. And Friday, it finally dawned on me. This week, of all weeks, was a week in which I was being called to unite my suffering with that of Christ. How little I suffer compared to Him who gave his life for us! And how lovingly and faithfully Jesus has lightened my burdens time and time again, just for me to forget His mercy.
I have said it many times, and I will probably say it again and again. I am so weak. And I continuously face my weakness, and struggle to love myself despite it. What consoles me is the unfailing love I know Jesus has for me in spite of my shortcomings. I want to trust in God completely, and yet I so quickly forget how He cares for me. This week, when I finally began to accept my cross for what it was, and began to unite my sufferings with those much greater of Christ, I realized how foolish I was being. Could there have been Easter resurrection without suffering? Could Christ have risen victoriously over death, without the threat of the sting of death? I don’t believe that Jesus is willing me to go through suffering to understand His glory, but I am learning that perhaps it is only through suffering that we can appreciate and even notice the perfect, true love of our Lord. For when we suffer, and our hearts ache for something, we recognize face to face our brokenness, and our need for a love more perfect and more enduring than anything we can find on earth or even within ourselves.
I surprised myself on Good Friday, remembering where I was a year ago. A year ago, I sang at Good Friday stations of the cross in Colorado. And afterwards, I sat in a pew, crying. Once again, like now, my heart ached for something. Right now, I ache to be cured. I ache for the cancer to be gone from my body. And a year ago, I ached for a baby. I ached to hold something made from love in my arms. A year ago, it seemed like that would never happen. I cried and begged God to explain to me why I had to suffer and why He was ignoring my pleas. I struggled in my heart to believe that God would provide. And now, yes, I have cancer. And I fluctuate between being scared and hopeful, almost every minute of every day. And yet, anytime I want to, I can hold in my arms the most beautiful creature I have ever seen, a baby boy made of love and full of love and undoubtedly a gift from God. How weak I am! And how I struggle to believe God’s love for me is so big and so unfathonamable that He will do things His way and in His time only with my best interests at hand.
Why are we scared to hope sometimes? I have been telling myself not to be too hopeful. I have been telling myself that perhaps it’s better to expect the worst, and that way, anything good that happens will be a nice surprise. But as I sit here on Easter morning at my desk, watching little shards of light dance through my window shade, I’m forgetting all that and allowing myself to be hopeful. Christ is risen from the dead! He has overcome death! What do I not have to hope for? And what do I have to fear with the perfect, unfailing love of Christ at my side? As Jesus said to his mother Mary and Mary Magdalene on Easter morning,
” ‘Do not be afraid.
Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee,
and there they will see me.’ ” Matthew 28
I believe in Jesus rising from the dead today, and I believe in Christ working in my life. Today, I choose to believe in a God that has not forgotten me in my suffering, but a God that walks with me every step of the way. My prayer is that all of you trust in Jesus’ promise and love in your own lives not only today, when the light is shining on everything, but on the dark Good Friday’s of the year, when the light is indeed there, but a little harder to see.