Easter is mere days away. The weather anchor has been forecasting the best time for egg hunts, after-church dinner plans are in place, and the kids are off school. Maybe you even purchased Easter candy early, which only backfired. Unless I’m the only one who has already devoured her hidden stash?
It’s Holy Week. But here’s the thing. I’m not feeling so holy. I’m behind on the devotional book I purchased for Lent. I’ve missed multiple weeks of church due to snowstorms and travel. Ash Wednesday feels a lifetime ago. And though I know with absolute certainty that the tomb is empty, so are parts of my heart.
Maybe you’re not feeling so Easter-like this year either. If your hallelujahs feel more hollow than holy, here are three ways we can walk through this week.
1. Remember truth. Jesus has risen! He has risen indeed! You are God’s child; you belong to him. Nothing can change that, including your feelings!
It may be true that your heart is not prepared for Easter. Maybe you’ve been distracted by all the things, prayerless and careless in your choices. Good news. That’s why Jesus came. He came to rescue, forgive, and restore. He came to “search for the lost and bring back the strays” (Ezekiel 34:16).
So remember truth! Whether you feel like celebrating or not, Jesus died and rose again for you. He is your Victorious Savior, Gentle Shepherd, and Faithful Friend. And in him you are accepted, delighted in, forgiven, and so very loved.
2. Go to church. Even if you don’t feel like it and no one else wants to join you, go. Even if you don’t know where you’re going to sit or if you’ll fit in, go. And then keep going. You need a community of believers speaking life, love, and truth into your life, and they need you. If you’re not part of a small group or Bible study, don’t wait until the fall to join. Start today. Spend time with other Christians. Share life, open God’s word, pray together. It matters.
The Apostle Paul got that. He wrote in Romans 1:11-12, “I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong—that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.”
3. Don’t give up. Pain is an indicator that things are not as they should be. When we have headaches, we drink water, get rest, maybe take ibuprofen or see a doctor. And when there is emptiness at Easter, it is more than an indicator that things are not as they should be. It is an invitation.
Jesus invites you to himself. He will never give up on you! So don’t give up on him or your faith journey.
Accept his invitation. Read your Bible. Jesus is waiting to meet you where you are, as you are. Pray. Tell him all your feels. Confess your muck and the places you’re stuck. Ask him to fill your empty places with the truth of the empty tomb. Pray that he would restore “the joy of your salvation” (Psalm 51:12). It’s a request that aligns with his heart!
Even if you don’t feel like it, this week let’s choose to remember truth, go to church, and not give up! Because like Eugene Peterson wrote, “Feelings don’t run the show. There is a reality deeper than our feelings.”
His name is Jesus. And at Easter we celebrate the risen Savior who is deeply in love with you.
Writer’s note: Verses are quoted from the New International Version (NIV).