(Below is the flood of thoughts that came into my head an hour or two before Easter dinner with the family. I had hoped to share some of them at dinner, but the mood at the table was not one to allow me to express these thoughts freely. What follows is an attempt to capture the essence of these thoughts.)
As an older teenager, I remember contemplating the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and it was, for me, a subject of great excitement and anticipation. I loved the anthems, the declarations of: He is risen! He is risen! It was all very real to me. Though off in some distant future for me, I believed the promise of a Resurrection was true with all my heart.
This year, in a small degree, those feelings have returned. I appreciate the extra emphasis that our church leaders have placed on Easter and the meaning of it this year.
And what does it mean to me, and to my family? The hope of the Resurrection and the capstone that it is in a three part series of the Atonement of Christ: his suffering, his unfair condemnation and death by crucifixion, and then his Resurrection; there is nothing that Christ cannot fix, nothing that he cannot heal!
Why is it hard to accept such a blanket statement as this? Why is it so hard to believe that He can literally be the answer to every problem, challenge, difficulty, suffering, and obstacle that stands in the way of our happiness? I don’t have an answer to the skepticism of our day. Yet my faith is that wickedness is undone through Christ, and because if it, there is much effort by the wicked one to dissuade anyone from believing it.
Yet, why wouldn’t this be a compelling puzzle to solve? If Christ is the solution to every challenge, that doesn’t mean that that answer is easy or obvious. Because faith in Jesus Christ is the ultimate fix to every problem, this makes life all the more intriguing. Like any good mystery, the “how” is never immediately apparent. It must be worked for to be realized.
What is my hope for you, my children? First, it is that you will find joy in being the truest version of yourselves. What does that look like? I couldn’t tell you, because I feel like who I am today is a much better version of who I thought I was suppose to be. I am yet changing and evolving, and I don’t know where I will be or even who I am yet to become. But it will be a better version, a happier version of me. I believe that Jesus Christ is the key my realization of this better me. This is what I would hope for you.
Second hope, that you would look ahead to the next generation, to your children. Please consider that you can take steps now to prepare a space for them to land safely, to prepare a space for them to have the guarantee of loving parents. You control that fate more than anyone else. Your choices in relationships can bring significant and lasting joy, or prolonged suffering and pain. I didn’t realize the degree of power I had in choosing to marry your mother. I’ve had to revisit that choice periodically and recommit myself to our marriage as I’ve come to recognize the power in the choosing. Be picky in your choosing a partner; don’t settle for the lowest common denominator. Look for someone who will grow with you, someone who is willing to grow with you. You and your companion have the potential of creating something amazing! You want to pick rightly that creative partner. Children who live in homes with parents that love each other, have very little to worry about in the stability of their family life. That is the source of great power for personal growth. (Where that stability is lacking, Christ can make up the difference.)
My ultimate hope is that Christ will become the source of your personal strength and motivation. My hope is that some day each of you will have cultivated a relationship with Jesus, both intimate and personal, that will be a compelling source for good in your lives. Then you will know peace; then you will have joy like nothing else in this world. Then you will have the power to unlock the mysteries behind the challenges that are unique to your life experience. This is my personal reality: that I have Jesus Christ as my source of strength, peace, and Joy!