Is Resurrection Real?
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. (1 Peter 1:3)
My friend, Mary, was emotionally abused and then sexually abused by a cousin at a very young age. She told her mom what happened, but her mom decided to sweep it under the rug rather than face the pain and heartache head on. Thinking that she was somehow to blame for what happened to her, she felt ashamed and believed she was less than a person.
Not surprisingly, depression set in. Suicidal thoughts haunted her teenage years. But trauma wasn’t done visiting her life. Her first marriage, a happy one, was abruptly ended when her first husband died very young. That was followed by a sour marriage to a man who cheated on her constantly.
Then, her mother died. Within a month, a dear friend died, and the depression deepened into an abyss of darkness and despair. She described her experience this way: “enormous doses of sadness, feelings of hopelessness, darkness, cold, lots of deep-seated and powerful anger, hard to move, it was like by brain slowed and therefore my body slowed. I believed that God was mad at me. I wouldn’t let people pray over me.” She was convinced that nothing would ever change. She felt truly hopeless.
But somehow Mary summoned the courage to do what so many victims of depression can’t – she went to a counselor determined to find a way out of the darkness. She spent many years in counseling, paying for it out of her own pocket long after insurance stopped paying for it.
Her counselor stuck with her faithfully, accepting only partial payments when necessary. Her counselor performed a very powerful act of love: She listened to her with her whole heart – she valued and respected Mary and made her feel safe to tell her story. She was able to confide in some friends and family who gave her the same kind of unconditional love. Gradually, Mary experienced her own resurrection. She told me that life had handed her a bucket of manure, but she eventually realized that manure makes flowers. And, believe me, she grew flowers.
Today, you wouldn’t believe what Mary has become. She is a person who is a beacon of light to those around her. Sure, she still has her down moments, but who doesn’t? She told me, “The greatest thing is to be thankful to God. To be thankful for the possibilities that I didn’t know there was.” She knows where she has been, and now she knows she carries a mission from God. Today, her mission is to help anyone at any time. And, she does.
Is the resurrection real? Is there a living hope through the resurrection? Definitely and definitely. Resurrection stories are all around us, and the Christ is in all of them. The resurrection was, and the resurrection is, and the resurrection always will be. Amen.