The Hope of Easter

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Image: ‘Peep..Peep’ http://www.flickr.com/photos/36908075@N03/4436310435
Found on flickrcc.net

There’s nothing quite so terrifying as an Easter egg. At least in my case there wasn’t. Back in the days when Holiday World was simply Santa Claus Land they had a playground with several concrete structures that included an igloo, a giant fish and an egg. The egg was cracked open in the middle and big enough that you could stand up inside of it. Doesn’t sound so terrifying, does it?

Wait for it. It’s coming.

The two things you need to understand at this point in the story are these:

1. Even though I’m an only child, I have an uncle named Brian who was just a few years older than me who took on the role of my sadistic older brother.

2. I’m claustrophobic.

I think you see where this is going.

So back to the egg. My mom thought it would make a cute picture. I was five. It was a giant egg. What’s not to love? I’m sure it would have been fine if I’d been by myself, but Brian went in with me, and that’s when things got ugly.

I remember stepping into the egg. I remember turning to face the camera. I remember Brian and I leaning into together for the picture. Then I remember him whispering, “Did you hear that?”

“What?” I said.

“It’s the egg. It moved.”

“Huh-uh,” I said.

“Really, there it went again. It’s closing.”

“Closing?”

“It’s going to swallow us alive!”

“Moooooooom!” I screamed and bolted for dear life. I haven’t eaten an egg since.

I wish I could say that was the last time I let unreasonable fear get the best of me. Unfortunately, I’d be lying. In the last thirty-five years since what I refer to as the “Egg Incident” I’ve cowered from more fears than I’ve faced. Fear of bullies. Fear of conflict. Fear of failure. Fear of the unknown. You name it, I’ve probably been afraid of it at one time or another.

Maybe you can relate. Maybe, like me, you’ve heard that voice whispering in your ear that whatever you were dealing with was going to swallow you alive. Maybe you hear it now. And maybe you know that on the surface, your fear is just as ridiculous as my Easter egg. Or maybe it’s not. Maybe it’s a real, in-your-face-kind of fear, like your marriage falling apart or chilling news from the doctor or even the specter of death itself.

Whatever your fear, whatever you face, the good news of Easter is that our fear has no basis in fact. Even when it looks like all hope is lost, hope is actually just getting started.

Shortly before that first Easter, 2000 years ago, Jesus’ body was laid to rest in tomb. A massive stone was rolled into place and the entrance was sealed by Roman soldiers. The darkness of the tomb swallowed the dead body of Jesus along with the hopes and dreams of all who followed Him.

Death, chief of all fears, ruled the day. Fear no longer whispered in the ears of Jesus’ friends. It screamed.

But then came Easter. Then came the dawn. An earthquake. An angel. A body that began to move. A stone that began to roll. And fear? Fear was replaced with awe.

When Jesus stepped out of the darkness of the tomb, fear fled. Death, it’s fiercest ambassador, had been snapped like a twig by the King of life, and someday that King will return to make all things right. On that day the Bible says, “the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.’ ‘Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?'”

So no matter how great your anxiety, no matter how overwhelming your circumstances, the only one getting swallowed around here is death in the sweet victory won by Jesus on Easter morning. No matter what whispers you hear this week, cling to the truth and the hope that is sure to swallow your fear.

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