As I began to think about Holy Week, I remembered this article I wrote a few years ago from a hospital bed on Easter morning. In light of all we are facing right now, all the sorrow, the sickness, the anxiety, pain, and loss, I thought it might be an encouragement to many of you. Maybe you are experiencing physical illness or the loss of a business or job. Momentary affliction is our current reality, but resurrection is our eternal promise. And resurrection dawns in the darkest of places.
Be encouraged this week. He is risen! In Christ, we will rise too.
I’m spending Easter in a hospital bed this year. It’s a strange place to celebrate resurrection, because there’s not much new life around here today. Colored eggs and Easter lilies have been replaced with the constant droning of blood pressure machines and IV drips. Honestly, it feels the opposite of alive.
Throwing HIPAA to the wind, I’ll give you a little insight into what’s landed me here. I’ve apparently won the lottery of medical conditions as only 1.5 in 100,000 adults develop CVT (or blood clots in the veins in their head) each year. And we hear the underlying blood condition that formed these clots is even rarer. It’s possible this caused my seizure last month, and the poor flow of blood through my body has also driven my blood pressure to uncomfortable levels.
My cardiologist buddy says you want to bore the doctors with your symptoms, but my docs are giddy with the exhilaration of an explorer on the verge of a unique discovery. They want to bring medical students by my room to quiz me on my condition. I was even told my strange story could be a potential writeup for a medical journal. This is not how you want to become famous.
The symptoms are treatable, and the prognosis is ultimately for a long and normal life. But in the mean time, I’m spending this beautiful Sunday Facetime-ing my way into the family Easter dinner from the second floor of IU West.
Up until six weeks ago, I would’ve told you I trust God. After all, trust is central to faith. It’s been part of the fabric of my belief system since I was old enough to sing Sunday School songs about it and quote verses like Proverbs 3:5. But let’s face it, it’s easier to trust God when you don’t have to.
And yet here I sit. Full of fear. Full of questions. Forced to trust.
But maybe, just maybe, that’s not so far away from what Easter is all about after all. If you read the Easter account in Scripture, there was plenty of sorrow and despair to go around. Jerusalem was somber, the disciples were in hiding, women were weeping. Their dreams had been shattered. Their dreams. Their picture of life. Their image of Jesus, who He was, and what He was there to do.
That first Easter morning they were undoubtedly swimming in sorrow, confessing their frustration, and fears, and confusion, and complete inability to control anything that had been so important to them. And from that place of complete loss…
I followed Pastor Glenn Packiam’s Easter sermon via Twitter from my hospital bed this morning, and I think He said it quite beautifully:
“Resurrection life begins when we say, ‘I give up.’ It’s self reliance that leads to death.”
I woke up this morning with zero confidence in me. I’ve got nothing left. No control, only trust. I give up.
Perhaps that makes this hospital room the perfect place to celebrate Easter. If resurrection begins where self-reliance ends, I’ve never been more alive.