My mother has an auto-immune disorder. It’s rare and weird, and one of those things that you just wouldn’t wish on anyone. I learned when she got sick that you don’t ever want to be the case that all of the doctors are clamoring to come and check out in the hospital because they’ve never seen your illness before. You don’t want to be the weird case.
Nevertheless, she was the weird case, and in a twist of fate that could only be orchestrated by God, a buddy of Chad’s from high school took her on as a patient and figured out what she had and treated her for it. With God’s help he saved her life, and in a matter of months she will reach five years with no flare ups of the disease, and will be considered in remission.
But, when she was hospitalized the second time, and then when she was put in ICU and was being given over 30 different medicines through an I.V., when she was put on a respirator and was one of the sickest people in the place, we had some moments that felt hopeless. I remember one in particular. A pretty young doctor came in. I think she was the infectious diseases doctor. My dad had gone home for a few hours, and I was half sleeping in a chair when she came in. She told me that it was a “moment by moment situation.” I think it was the first time that I really understood how serious the issues were.
I called my dad and my brother and told them what she had said. Terrified and devastated were probably the two emotions that most ruled that day. We spent the rest of the day praying, crying, watching mom intently from our straight vinyl chairs, wondering how this dying woman could possibly be our mother. I went home that night feeling like the hopes I had for her full recovery were just fantasies. I had gotten a dose of reality, and my hope that she would walk out of that hospital had flown out of that sixth floor window, like a bird whose nest had been knocked to the ground by a fussy housewife with a broomstick.
I was lost.
The next morning, my dad called. Another doctor had come in. He said that things were looking up. He said that her numbers were finally heading in the right direction. He said that there was every reason to hope.
And, just like that, everything changed.
I had gone to bed feeling like my world was crumbling. And, the next morning I was greeted with news that renewed my hope for my mom. I knew the road ahead would be rocky–and it was–but it seemed that she was going to make it.
This weekend I was thinking about that terrible day and night when hope faded. And I was reminded of how Mary and Martha and Jesus’ disciples, his friends, and his family must’ve felt when they were robbed of their hope. They had to wait for a day and two nights after Jesus died. They were terrified and devastated. They felt like their hope was gone, as if they had been knocked down by a heavenly broomstick. Where were they to go, and what were they to believe now? How could this be the ending to the story that they had so hoped would end differently?
But, finally, Sunday morning arrived. And hope.
Hope personified, in the person of Jesus.
They had gone to bed filled with dread about the future, and they woke up to a whole new world. A world where Hope is as alive as you and me.
A world where even death has no power. A world where, even if my mom had died in that bed, I could have mourned her passing with hope for her eternity. When we know Christ, even while hope for continued life on earth fades, hope of a future in Heaven grows with each piece of bad news.
When we know Jesus, we know Hope.
So, this Easter I found myself just thanking God for the hope that was renewed on the day that Jesus rose from the dead. His death brought us life, and His resurrection gave us the gift of hope.
I believe it. He is alive. And, He carries hope in two beautiful nail-scarred hands. When you have hope, you can endure more than you ever thought possible.
And, when you have Christ, you have real love, real peace, and real hope. I pray you felt it on Resurrection Day.