It’s the season of spring, my favorite season. I have always enjoyed watching the trees put on leaves and the flowers begin to bloom in this season of mild temperatures and pretty days. Spring is an annual reminder that new life can emerge out of that which was dormant. It is a built-in cycle of the earth which God created. It happens every year without human oversight and control. All we need to do is watch it and be inspired by it.
Spring is also the name of a town in which my family and I have lived for more than 23 years. Sue and I will soon begin our retirement in another part of Spring, just across Spring Creek, called Spring Trails. So, it’s obvious that I like the town of Spring and the people in it, and anything associated with spring.
Another reason that I like spring is because it is the season in which we celebrate Easter, God’s victory of life over death. The life that we celebrate at Easter is even more important than the new life that greets us in the natural world during the season of spring. This life is life that is eternal and that never ends. It is life that is given to us by our God who loves us. In this eternal life, we are able to live with God forever in a loving relationship. What is even more special is that we can begin to live this eternal life here on earth.
Easter is important not only because of what it says about life beyond the grave, but because of what it says about life on this side of the grave.
If Christ lives, then life has meaning. There is hope even in the most difficult circumstances. If Christ defeated death, if my life goes on forever, if the gospel is true, I can live courageously, victoriously. I can overcome my fears by his grace and I can be all he intends for me to be. I need never accept the possibility of absolute futility and failure--not if Christ has been raised from the grave. It is that knowledge that has given followers of Jesus Christ power over their circumstances in every era for more than two thousand years.
It’s like a song that Gloria Gaither wrote many years ago while she was expecting a child. She and her husband Bill had been going through some difficult times. He had been seriously sick and their music had drawn some highly critical reviews in the Gospel music industry.
On New Year’s Eve, Gloria sat in a darkened room experiencing a time of torment and fear. “I sat alone in the darkness thinking about the rebellious world and all of our problems--about our baby yet unborn. Who in their right mind would bring a child into a world like this?” she thought to herself.
She was at the height of her fear when something indescribable happened. She said, “I can’t quite explain what happened in that next moment but suddenly I felt released from it all. The panic that had begun to build inside was gently dispelled by a reassuring presence and a soft voice kept saying, ‘Don’t forget the empty tomb, don’t forget the empty tomb.’” She then began to confess her faith in Christ and knew that she could indeed have a baby and face the future with optimism and trust for she had been reminded that it was all worth it “Just Because He Lives.” And from that experience she began to write these words, “How sweet to hold a newborn baby and feel the pride and joy he gives; but greater still the calm assurance, this child can face uncertain days because He lives. 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.”
No matter what the circumstances of your life, don’t lose hope. Remain open to the possibility of resurrection; the possibility of new life. You can be lifted from troubles to possibilities, from despair to joy, from fear to courage, from defeat to victory. Because he lives you can face tomorrow. You can face your fears. You can even face your own death and be unafraid. Your life is truly worth living because he lives. This is the message of Easter.
Blessings and Peace,