Easter is typically a time when we celebrate life and resurrection, but this Spring, we're surrounded by so much death and disease. Here in the New York and New Jersey region, God chose us to live in the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic: A global disaster bigger than World War II.
During this pandemic, I find a lot of people asking: Where is God in all this suffering? The answer is this: He's right there with you, on the Cross.
This Easter, I want to share with you a bittersweet story from the Gospel of John, chapter 11. In the story, we see Jesus' close friends Mary & Martha call Jesus to come and help when their brother Lazarus fell sick. Lazarus was a friend of Jesus' as well, and the Scripture shows us that Jesus loved him. However, Jesus waited 2 days before traveling to the family, and when He finally got to Mary & Martha, Lazarus had already died. Martha was hurt and confused when Jesus arrived late, believing that, had Jesus come earlier, Lazarus would have lived. The thing is, he didn't come to do a healing that day - He came to give Lazarus a resurrection!
See, as Christians, we believe Jesus can bring GOOD out of suffering. Out of the Cross comes the Resurrection. Out of our weakness comes real STRENGTH. I know you can't see it right now, but God can bring something even better out of this pandemic. Something BEAUTIFUL out of this horrible time.
Can you imagine if God used this pandemic to humble our nation and reboot our moral compass? To bring us together as one people instead of being so self-involved and busy that we don't even care about others? Out of this death, we can see a resurrection!
In John 11, we learn that in order to give Lazarus back his life, Jesus would have to lose his own. To reverse the effect of death for all who believe in Him, Jesus would have to experience his own death on a Cross. In Jesus Christ, we have a God who is so committed to ending suffering, sickness, and death - He took it on Himself in our place.
You may feel disappointed this Easter. You may feel like Mary and Martha did in their initial grief: Sad, confused or confounded. But the promise of Easter is found in the promise of eternal life bought for us through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord. Read below his words of comfort to Martha in John 11:25:
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” - John 11:25
Do you have this hope? Admit your sin, believe in Jesus, and commit your life to follow Christ this Easter!