What do you think of when you hear the word Easter? Do you think of chocolate bunnies nestled in that stringy stuff in Easter baskets? Do you think of uncomfortable dresses that your mom used to make you wear for Easter dinner? Do you think of church services that always included the hymn “He Lives”? When I hear the word Easter, I think of hope. I think of promises fulfilled. I think of new beginnings. I think of freedom from my past failures, sins, and hurts. I think of victory and new life.
In order to understand why one word brings to mind so many feelings for me, let’s throw it back to the years of 2006-2007. I’m in seventh grade. I have heavily highlighted blonde hair, I’ve never even heard of a flat iron before. I have braces and glasses. I’m depressed and suicidal. I didn’t have friends and I was probably the loneliest I had ever been. One day a girl in my Spanish class invited me to go to church with her and I reluctantly went. I faithfully went to church with her for two years, but I still didn’t make a commitment to give my life to Christ yet. During the summer of 2008, I found out that this same girl (who was my only friend) wouldn’t be starting school with me in the fall. It was during this season where I thought that I had no one, that I learned the most beautiful truth.
During this time I learned about a man who loved me more than anyone else. This man loved me so much that He willingly died for me. He gave up His life so that I may live. Me, this messed up girl who had no friends. This girl that thought no one would ever love her. How could this be? Someone willingly died for me? There must’ve been a mistake.
But there wasn’t a mistake. This man is Jesus and He died not only for me, but for the whole world as well. He willingly took on the sins of all of the people and paid the penalty that we deserved. But that’s not where the story ended. You see, after Jesus died all hope seemed lost, but three days later, He rose again.
On Easter we celebrate that resurrection. We celebrate the promises that Jesus fulfilled by dying for us and rising again. We celebrate the promise of new life through Him. We celebrate the promise of every battle being won. This is what gives me hope. Easter is the promise of new life. The promise of hope coming out of darkness. On that day in June of 2008, the depressed middle school version of myself finally turned her life over to Christ. I stepped out of the darkness and into light. No longer was I suicidal or depressed. I had a hope. Life was worth living because of the newfound freedom I found through Jesus’s death and resurrection.
I’m not going to lie and say that my life has been 100% peachy since accepting Christ. It definitely has not. In fact, this past year I battled depression again. I still struggle, I still sin. But now I have a hope. The resurrection promises us that there is hope. A popular quote on social media on Friday said, “It’s Friday, but Sunday is coming.” You might be living your life in a Friday season right now. Everything might be dark. You might think that there is no hope and that it’s always going to be like this forever. But, friend, let me encourage you. There is a hope coming. The resurrection is coming.
Easter gives me hope that after death, there comes a rebirth. Easter reminds me that when I feel like hope is lost, the story is not over. There is a resurrection coming. Jesus lives. The battle that you’re fighting? It’s already been won. As a child of God, we can have freedom. We have victory. Satan does not win. Death has no sting. Friday does not last forever. It’s Sunday and the good is here.
I can say with 100% certainty that the Gospel message of Jesus’s death and resurrection saved my life. I would not be writing these words had the events of Holy Week and Easter not occurred. Jesus’s death gave me a hope that I could never have created on my own or through any other source. He took me out of my dark season of depression and allowed me to walk in the freedom of His resurrection. Hold tightly to the truth of His resurrection. You are loved, you are cherished, and the battle is already won. Rejoice in that hope on this Easter Sunday.
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