Easter and hope are synonymous. That special day never arrives without its refreshing reminder that there is life beyond this one. True life. Eternal life. Glorious life. Those who live on what we might call "the outskirts of hope" need a transfusion. Easter gives it.
I think of all those who are battling the dread disease of cancer. Talk about people living on "the outskirts." They fight the gallant battle, endure the horrible reactions of chemotherapy, and anxiously await the results of the next checkup. And then there are those who still grieve over the loss of a mate, a child, a parent, or a friend. Death has come like a ruthless thief, snatching away a treasured presence, leaving only memories. What is missing?
Hope. Hope has died. There is nothing like Easter to bring hope back to life. Easter has its own anthems. Easter has its own scriptures. And Easter has its own proclamation: "He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said," (Matthew 28:6).
When Christians gather in houses of worship and lift their voices in praise to the risen Redeemer, the demonic hosts of hell and their damnable prince of darkness are temporarily paralyzed.
When pastors stand and declare the unshakable, undeniable facts of Jesus' bodily resurrection and the assurance of ours as well, the empty message of skeptics and cynics is momentarily silenced.
Our illnesses don't seem nearly so final. Our fears fade and lose their grip. Our grief over those who have gone on is diminished. Our desire to press on in spite of the obstacles is rejuvenated. Our identity as Christians is strengthened as we stand in the lengthening shadows of saints down through the centuries, who have always answered back in antiphonal voice: "He is risen, indeed!" A hope transfusion awaits us. It happens every year on Easter Sunday. Alleluia!
Jesus lives and so shall we! Death, where is your victory?
Excerpted from Day by Day, Copyright 2000 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. (Thomas Nelson Publishers). All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.