As a little girl, Easter was a little uncomfortable for me.
First of all, the 1980's was the Era of Awkward Easter Dresses. Stiff and frilly. We were made to wear over-sized hats (which no one really ever wears).
Add to that a corsage. A large Easter Orchid.
(Let me say that a six-year-old needs not to be in such close relations with two large stick pins.)
And new shoes. I would always have on new shoes. Usually white patten. Stiff. And uncomfortable.
In the eighties, you wore pantyhose. I didn't matter if you were six or seventy-six, you wore pantyhose.
But what made me the most uncomfortable about Easter was it was the one time of year that we went to church as a family.
Mom. And Dad. Both.
I remember feeling the pressure of pretending I didn't know how unusual it was that we were going to church as a family.
I was taught to be a very good actress at a very early age.
One Easter in particular, my mother wore a rayon and polyester turquoise dress. Tan hose. Turquoise shoes. An Easter Orchid. And a very large hat.
I have told you before, woman could sing. And there we'd stand, hymnal in hand, and the pastor would ask us to turn to the lovely hymn, "Because He Lives."
One of my favorites of all time.
But it, too, made me a bit uncomfortable.
I couldn't understand why that hymn made mama cry.
She would sing, as loud as her Aretha voice could carry, tears running down her face.
Because He Lives, I can face tomorrow.
Because He lives, all fear is gone.
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living just because He lives.
In this memory, mama was about my age now. Mid to late thirties. Two young girls. And hindsight tells me, she was on the brink of a very imminent divorce.
And there they stood together. The one Sunday a year.
So much hope must have encompassed this day.
She knew Jesus held the future. She had no reason to fear. But how hard.
And then one day I'll cross the river,
I'll fight life's final war with pain;
And then, as death gives way to victory,
I'll see the lights of glory - and I'll know He lives.
Now that she has crossed the river and fought life's war with pain, I wish I could hear her sing these words again.
I wish I could tell her how much healing the Lord has brought to our family. And to my dad.
I wish I could tell her that every word of this hymn is true. Life is so worth living because He lives.
She had no reason to cry.
But she already knows all of that now. She knows He lives.
So, instead, I will tell you.
One day, death will give way to victory. All suffering will cease.
Life is worth living, because He lives.
What would make you cry today? Fear? Change? Loss? Divorce? Suffering?
This too shall pass. Victory is yours. Both in this life and in the one to come.
Because He Lives.
Put your faith in this precious King. Jesus. Who bore the cross. Who became your sin. Who went to hell and ascended to Heaven.
Because of His great love for you.
Friend, life is worth the living, just Because He Lives.
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Because He Lives
- Anne Graham Lotz, The Joy of My Heart
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. John 10:11
Real meaning to your life is found in the glorious dawn of God's story, which breaks into full revelation in the Person of Jesus Christ. What an astounding truth! What a life-changing message!
Because He emptied Himself of all but love, you can be filled.
Because His body was broken, your life can be whole.
Because His blood was shed, your sin can be forgiven.
Because He submitted to injustice, you can forgive.
Because He finished His Father's work, your life has worth.
Because He was forsaken, you will never be alone.
Because He was buried, you can be raised.
Because He lives, you don't have to be afraid.
Because He was raised, you can be strong.
Because He reached down to you, you don't have to work your way up to Him.
Because His promises are always true, you can have Hope!
Praise God for just giving us Jesus!