Easter’s going to have a little different feel to it in 2020.
We haven’t shopped for a new Easter dress or spring shoes. Easter baskets will mostly be filled with whatever I can grab during a weekly grocery store run. [Yes, I still do Easter baskets for my teenage daughters 🙂 ] And we won’t be headed out to our normal Easter service at church on Sunday morning.
With all that’s going on in our world, I want to make sure that the celebration and significance of Easter don’t get lost in the shuffle. I want to be mindful this week to focus my mind on Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection.
And what better event is there to focus on when what we all need today is a major dose of hope? It’s easy in our current environment, where most days feel very long and very much the same, to be discouraged or fearful.
As I thought about how hope plays into the Easter story, this passage came to mind.
“Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh…That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.” ~Ephesians 2:11-13
It’s interesting to note some parallels between our condition without Christ and the current crisis we’re facing.
We were hopeless.
That’s what everyone single one of us was before Christ came to earth, took our punishment for sin by dying on the cross, and then rose from the dead.
There’s no greater story of redemption and hope. After Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, it looked like this narrative of mankind was headed for a really bad ending. We had no hope of bridging the gap between a holy God and our sinful selves.
Right now, our best hope for living this day-to-day reality that’s so foreign to what we’ve known is to look to God. He alone is the source of true hope.
We were incapable of saving ourselves.
There was nothing you or I could do in our sinful state to save ourselves and get to heaven. God had to initiate salvation. Only He could find a way to reconcile us to Himself and allow us to spend eternity in His presence.
We can’t make COVID-19 and its related problems go away. Hopefully, medical solutions will come soon, but even that will only happen as God gives men and women the ability to figure it out.
God had a plan.
In Genesis 3:14-15, God laid out His plan for our salvation. His Son, Jesus Christ, would be the Savior who would provide a way for man to have forgiveness of sin.
And God has a plan today. Not only does He have a plan for each of us individually through this time, but for our churches and our nations. I couldn’t begin to tell you what it might be, but I trust that He is working in every situation.
It was all in His timing.
Why wait so long between the sin of Adam and Eve in the garden and the coming of the Messiah? I don’t know. But His timing is always perfect. Everything related to Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection was done on His timetable.
Why has the coronavirus afflicted our world in the spring of 2020? I certainly don’t know that either. But we know that it’s all in God’s timing.
There was a purpose to everything He did.
You’ve likely heard sermons about all of the Old Testament prophecies that were fulfilled in the life of Jesus. God orchestrated both the writing and the fulfillment of those prophecies. Nothing was accidentally included; they all had a purpose.
I’m reminded that “The Lord is righteous in all His ways and holy in all His works.” [Psalm 145:17] Everything the Lord does is right and good. He has a purpose for what is happening each and every day.
Victory was waiting in the wings.
Things looked fairly dark that morning as Jesus was led away to be crucified. I would guess that little hope was felt among his followers as they watched Him being nailed to a cross. Yet just three short days later, how their outlook would change.
I don’t know exactly what victory will look like in our current situation. Right now, just a return to what was our normal lives and routines sounds good! Maybe it will also be the lessons we’re learning as so much has been put on hold.
By the blood of Jesus Christ, we who were far off are now drawn close to Him. Let’s immerse ourselves this week in the hope that Easter brings. Eternal life in heaven with our Lord. Peace, grace, and comfort here on earth. His presence to guide us. May we ever give thanks for what Jesus accomplished on our behalf that first Easter!