Thursday, April 13, 2017

What The Resurrection Means To The Chronically Ill

It is nearly Good Friday! Well, every Friday is good because…duh, it is the commencement of an awesome weekend. This Friday is extra special though! It represents Christ’s crucifixion prior to the resurrection on Easter Sunday.

I basically grew up in church. Each year I heard the Easter bible passages. And, each year I heard the same old ladies break out in song with the “He is risen” and the same unchanging yada yada yada from the preacher. In my childhood, this was a given, almost a cliché. The true meaning did not resonate with me until later in life. Easter, specifically the resurrection, has taken on a new significance since becoming ill.

Jesus clearly suffered the ultimate price for our sins on the cross. Through Him, we are redeemed. Like promised, three days later He rose from the dead. The deceased are not supposed to miraculously awaken to a living, breathing conscious. That is a phenomenon out of the norm. But how does that pertain to being sick? What does the resurrection symbolize for the chronically ill believer?
"1 On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5 In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7 ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” 8 Then they remembered his words. 9 When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. 11 But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. 12 Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened." - Luke 24: 1-12
The crucifixion is the essence of human hopelessness, pain, sin, and misfortune. It also bears guilt, shame, and forgiveness. Christians tend to keep the event of the crucifixion in the forefront of their minds, almost as a reminder of their wrongs. The resurrection is not considered as frequently. However, it conveys hope, truth, redemption, and miracles. It indicates our eventual healing and fortunes in Heaven.
"Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength." - 1 Corinthians 15:43
It is imperative to reflect on the resurrection more often because without it, understanding of the crucifixion is lost. We should not allow it to reduce Christ’s life, or our own lives, to earthly sob stories. 

The emphasis of hope is especially important. Christ rising from death is undoubtedly a miracle. It is proof the Lord can perform other miracles. For example, when Jesus heals the paralytic:
11 I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” 12 And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!” Mark 2:11-12
Hope derived from the resurrection, in a sense, gives us a portion of control of our lives, our destiny. 
It provides the expectation of Heave and the incentive to strive to become more like Jesus. Through the redemption of the resurrection, there is no need to fear the future. 

When the situation seems hopeless or health prognosis appears grim, the impossible can always be accomplished with God.
"Jesus looked at them and said, 'With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.'" - Matthew 19:26
There is heavenly healing to look forward to. Happy Easter, friends!