I wake up early this Easter morning to a dreary heaviness in the darkness. Rain splatters on my windshield and fog silhouettes the horizon as I drive to the sunrise service, where there honestly wouldn't be much of a sunrise. It doesn't feel like life has defeated death this morning.
It is almost like the dreariness is seeping out of my soul, casting a gloomy cloud on the morning. I am tired and grumpy - grumpy that it is so early, grumpy that I still haven't finalized Easter plans, and grumpy that I am spending so much time focusing on Easter plans and not able to connect to the weight and meaning of the day. I want to go home but I don't want to drive the 2 hours to Charlotte. I want so badly to see family and old friends, but I also want to celebrate Easter with my church community - and I know I can't do both.
How frustrating that a simple decision can consume my thoughts so! Jesus is risen! He is risen and here I am sitting in my car crying like a little girl because I can't make up my mind. Once again I feel the wave of transience fall on my shoulders, a feeling of impermanence so common to my existence these days. I can't help but reach out for a sense of belonging, a sense of purpose, a sense of home - when my heart feels so incredibly divided!
And in the midst of all this noise in my head, the fear of disappointment, the desire to please and this insatiable need for home, I am quieted by the memory of a story. The story of a woman crying in the garden because she can't find the man, the savior, that she is looking for. She is in much greater turmoil than I and yet I can't help but empathize. And while she is crying her savior comes to her in all his resurrected glory and speaks tenderly to her, saying, "Dear woman, why are you crying?"
And then he says her name. I imagine it strong but soft. Firm in its reality and coated with everlasting love - and everything in her being wells up inside to the sweet sound of his voice speaking her name. I am there and I can feel it. Her pulse pounding, hope rising, heart screaming, "You! You are the one I have been looking for!"
I can hear him in my head saying my name like that. So tender, so strong and sweet saying, I'm right here sweetheart, I'm right in front of you. I am your home. I am your purpose, your essence, your life. I was away for a little while but with great compassion I have returned to you. This day I have defeated death and sorrow and sin forever! I've taken your punishment and conquered it so that we can be together again - if you will only trust me!
How can I not trust him? He is risen and I am alive forever. No matter where I am on this dying ground or what I do in my impermanent life, he is my portion, forever! Words can't express how thankful I am. How overwhelming grateful I am to have parents who have raised me in the understanding of the gospel! Who have prayed for me, nurtured and set the example for what it really means to be faithful to the Lord. How grateful I am to be surrounded by the church, the body and bride of Christ, who constantly direct my wandering heart back to the gospel.
So be encouraged on this dreary Easter Sunday. We have a hope that far exceeds the disappointments of this world. May you rest in His sweet sweet goodness today.