EASTER ISN’T OVER!

3 04 2018

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Today my Parents would have been married for 59 years. Very often I make myself laugh to keep me from crying. When I think about the secret of the success of my Parent’s marriage, I say that it has lasted this long because Dad has been in Heaven the last 18 years. It still feels like yesterday. My Parents actually renewed their Vows in 1999 and I had the privilege to Officiate that occasion. None of us ever thought that a year later, Dad would have graduated to Glory.

Tomorrow my Son Nicholas would have been 23 years old. He was born in Omaha, Nebraska on April 5, 1995. Having a baby was supposed to have been a joyous event. My oldest Son Rudy couldn’t wait to have a little Brother. We named him Nicholas so Rudolph could lead him around. Little did we know that only 90 short minutes after birth, we would leave the hospital empty handed and empty hearted.

Needless to say, for me, Easter is not just a day we celebrated last Sunday. The reality of the resurrection gives me the hope I need to carry on when I should have been carried off. I can’t imagine a world where one doesn’t believe in a Creator. There is too much order and design for me to think that all of this is nothing more than random chance and happenstance. And for me, not only is the resurrection rational; it is intensely relational. Because Jesus lives, I am still alive. It isn’t Motel 6 that keeps the light on for me. It is the strong faith that I know that my Redeemer lives and if he lives, so will I.  

I believe that most people choose to be unbelievers because they don’t want to give up the control of their lives. It certainly isn’t the lack of evidence that causes somebody to walk away from Jesus. Oh, there are many who try to cover their tracks by saying things like, “I believe Jesus was a good Teacher, but I don’t believe he was God.” To which I always reply, “Do you know that this Man you refer to as a good Teacher preached to those around him that he was the Son of God?” What kind of good Teacher teaches things that you don’t even claim to believe? 

Face facts, and there are many convincing evidences that demand a verdict. If Jesus rose from the dead, then you have to accept all that he said! If he didn’t rise from the dead, then why worry about any of what he said? The issue on which everything hangs is not whether or not you like Jesus and His teaching but whether or not he rose from the dead.                                                          

Remove God and you remove the following realities. Without God there is no good and evil; there are only subjective opinions that we then label “good” and “evil.” Without God, there is no objective meaning to life. Without God, life is ultimately a tragic fare. We live, we suffer, we die, some horrifically and many prematurely and then there is only oblivion afterward. Without God, humans become quite ignorant because they start to believe that they are the highest form of life. Without God, even the kindest and most innocent victims of torture and murder have no better a fate after death than do the most cruel torturers and mass murderers. Without God follows the death of Judeo-Christian values in the West as many Westerners believe in little more than a watered down politically correct belief system that aims to please the crowd. Without God, people in the West often become less, not more, rational. Without God, the human being has no free will. Without God, humans and “other” animals are of equal value. Without God, there is little to inspire people to create inspiring art. Without God nothing is holy. Without God, humanist hubris is almost inevitable. Without God, there are no inalienable human rights. “Without God,” Dostoevsky famously wrote, “all is permitted.                                           

I challenge you to be skeptical of your own skepticism. You’ll never be fair-minded with the evidence if you don’t acknowledge that you can’t be perfectly fair-minded. Why not admit, “God, I don’t know if you’re there but I do know what prejudice is like, and I’m willing to be suspicious of it. I’m willing to ask the questions. I’m willing to study the evidence. To wager your life on the bet that there is no God is one that is too big to gamble upon. There is too much to lose in the process.

I will cry today as I remember my Parents and tomorrow as I remember my Nicholas but I will not live as one that has no realistic expectation that I will never see them again. Because Easter is not only a day, the Resurrection for me is immensely and intensely personal! Real faith connects you to Jesus and Jesus connects us to eternal life. And don’t try measuring everlasting life in a qualitative fashion as it is more quality than anything else. I’m not religious, I just the Lord who loved me first. He loved me when nobody else would or could. And because of that connection, I know that we have a forever thing. So my last breath here will be my first breath in Heaven. And when I cry tears of pain today, God will turn them into times of joy tomorrow. Easter is not just a day- it is a way of life.  


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