On Thursday, I received the “Easter at Saddleback” email from Saddleback Church. The second thing Pastor Rick Warren said in the email was:
Over 73,000 people have viewed my three-minute Easter video on YouTube. It’s deeply personal. Please share this link with your friends: http://bit.ly/1ile6FO
Like most people who read the email, I clicked the link, and this is what I heard:
Although I loved what Pastor Warren said (I typically do), I was having a hard time understanding where he was coming from. I have never had a death like that in my immediate family, and so I wasn’t sure of my thoughts. Could I relate?
Until I was sure, and I absolutely could relate.
It happened last night. For 40 minutes, Samarah fussed, cried, squirmed and fought herself to sleep. In the last 15 minutes, I held her hand and watched her beautiful little face. Once I did that, she quickly began to nod off, smiling on her way out. Me holding her hand was all she needed.
As I was holding her hand, it occurred to me that last year, on this day, the Saturday before Easter Sunday, I wrote a blog post called, “Hope.”I re-visited that post. Turns out, what I wrote was exactly what Pastor Warren was referring to.
Pastor Rick Warren described the Saturday I was referring to via “Hope” much better than I did.
The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus happened over three days:
Friday was a day of suffering, and pain, and agony.
Saturday was a day of doubt, and confusion, and misery.
But Easter Sunday was a day of hope, and joy, and victory!
Ironically, last year at this time, “hope” was all we were holding on to. It doesn’t take death to be able to relate, and relate to these, I absolutely could: pain, agony, doubt and confusion.
Last year was my Friday and my Saturday.
I thought they might last forever.
But last night I was reminded that they do not. Samarah proves hope, joy and victory to us daily.
Pastor Warren finished by asking:
Now here’s the fact of life: You will face these three days over and over in your lifetime. And when you do, you’ll find yourself asking, as I did, three fundamental questions:
- What do I DO in my days of pain?
- HOW do I GET THROUGH my days of doubt and confusion?
- HOW do I GET TO the days of joy and victory?
The days leading up to that fateful November call might have looked different had I had these questions in my pocket last year.
I didn’t, but in February of this year I did my own reflection in a very similar manner via, “How Do You Receive God’s Gift of Grace?”
In the end, as Pastor Warren says,
The Answer is Easter!
Easter never used to mean much to me. Easter bunnies, chocolate and spring colors were all I ever thought about.
The answer truly is Easter, and not just this weekend, but during so many chapters of life. Pastor Nolan mentions from time-to-time that you might not have ever had your Friday/Saturday yet, but it’s coming. We simply don’t get through life without those chapters to our story.
I know what He did for me and for you. I know what He continues to do for me and for you. I have witnessed sparkling grace after dark days.
This Easter fills our hearts with joy, and it reminds me that He lives!
p.s. Have you seen/heard this version of “Hallelujah” yet? Amazing!
Love your guts,