How often we look to the past and wish for its return.
How often we look to what once was and offer to give anything just to have it back.
How often we wonder why things can’t just stay the same.
How often we forget that we are not of this ever changing world, but rather of an unchanging God.
Ever Changing World
Easter Sunday was an early morning for us; with a sunrise breakfast and preparation for four Easter services, we were merely fueled by caffeine, commitment, and adrenaline … and of course the overwhelming joy for our Risen King.
Staying busy and being surrounded by others helps to distract us from our grief. Yet, eventually the chaos recedes and we, once again, find ourselves at rest, enduring our brokenness and pain.
So it came as no surprise when church services concluded that afternoon that my soul, once again, felt the deep sadness at my husband’s absence.
And it came as no surprise that as I kicked off my heels and laid back on the couch — defeated and desperate for a nap — my daughter, Harley, sat at my side adamantly requesting a continuation to our busy morning.
Despite my attempt to convince her that taking a nap would be a great idea, she pled for something more exciting and eventful; she pled for what I knew was merely a distraction from what she was feeling.
She didn’t want to rest because she didn’t want to feel. She, too, was feeling the void of her dad and all she wanted was for Easter to feel like it had in years past.
Though a nap was what I had planned for myself, it wasn’t what I did.
Instead, I put aside my own desires and joined Harley on the front lawn where we sat on the handmade blanket I made for her 11th birthday, ate cheese sticks, and basked in the sun.
No doubt that nap would have been refreshing; but, over the years I have learned to take advantage of memory-making moments like these for nothing in this ever changing world lasts forever.
For many, Easter is a day that carries with it family traditions, carried on year after year, making memories along the way and reminiscing at years gone by.
For my family, Easter has always been a time to gather and celebrate. My childhood was spent gathered at the table with family on Easter and it was a tradition carried on into adulthood.
Though my husband’s military career never made it easy to make it home to gather with family on Easter, we have yet to miss an Easter gathering with other soldiers and friends who, like us, were unable to travel home to their families. Our Easter tradition even endured two deployments, separated as a family yet still gathering together with friends celebrating the One who defeated death on the cross and calls us His friends (Jn. 15:15).
But this Easter was different; the ever changing world was about to have its way.
It was only three days prior a family friend asked about my Easter plans. My response: “Well, I’ll be at the church of course.”
The truth was, in the busyness of planning Easter Sunday for the church, I had forgotten to plan Easter Sunday for my family.
Sure, I had bought Harley a small Easter gift a week earlier; but unlike years before, there was no Easter basket, no Easter egg hunt, and no Easter meal plans. For the first time since we’d become a family seven years prior, we had absolutely no Easter plans aside from church.
Yupp … the ever changing world was definitely going to have its way this Easter.
Oh, ye of little faith.
It was in that moment, that God compassionately and graciously reached out with an invitation to gather with some friends in their home for Easter. Sure it was different than years past, but our tradition of gathering endured the ever changing world around us.
The author of Ecclesiastes reminds us that there is a time for everything under the sun (3:1-8). Resurrection Sunday is not a time to cry but a time to laugh; not a time to grieve but a time to dance (v. 4).
Sure the Crucifixion was a time to grieve, but that time came to an end three days later when Jesus rose from the dead. Finding the tomb empty was a time of celebration because Jesus had risen from the dead just as he said would happen (Matt. 28:5-6).
Seasons come and go.
Mistakes are made.
Consequences are endured.
Children move out.
Friends move away.
Regardless, one thing always remains …
Because we believe, we know that even in our ever changing world, our God is a God of unfailing love (Rom. 8:38-39; Ps. 136) who never grows weak or weary (Isa. 40:28) and remains the same forever and always (Mal. 3:6; Isa. 40:8; Heb. 13:8; Jas. 1:17).
So even though I walk through times of deep sadness, I know the God of perfect timing will make everything beautiful in its own time(Ecc. 3:11).
Whether seasons are good or bad, happy or sad, I lift my eyes, for I know where it is my help comes from (Ps. 121).
God’s Perfect Timing
Despite our brokenness and regardless of our pain we must accept that we are not of this ever changing world, but rather of an unchanging, forever faithful God.
Nothing lasts forever; Change will soon come.
This moment, this season, this feeling, will soon succumb to our ever changing world and give way to God’s perfect timing.
In the meantime:
When times call for tears … cry!
When times call for laughter … laugh!
When times call for deep sorrow… grieve!
When times call for celebration … dance!
And nonetheless, seek to serve Him in all things, praising He who calls us out of the darkness and into the light (Eph. 5:8).