“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation.”
Henry David Thoreau in Walden
There’s a certain kind of conversation that repeats itself in my life with someone new at least once a week. It goes something like this:
“Things just haven’t played out they way I thought they would. I guess I was just naïve. But now I know…”
Fill in the details however you like. It could be a conversation about marriage or work or family or church or moral striving. Ultimately, these conversations are saturated with resignation to what seems inevitable. And I hate these conversations.
If there were ever a moment in our worship together that ought to shake us free from that kind of despair, it’s Easter. Imagine the ‘confirmed desperation’ of the disciples of Jesus as He went to the cross and then lay in the tomb.
“Things just haven’t played out the way we thought they would. We thought Jesus was the King. And it wasn’t just the stuff we saw Him do. It was the way He gave us courage to do our part, to believe that maybe God really has chosen us to be used in the world. I guess we were just naïve. But now we know…”
But you and I aren't stuck in Good Friday. We follow Jesus through that death to Easter Sunday, when His body was raised up and His life was restored. Do you believe Paul’s words in Romans?
“…if God himself has taken up residence in your life, you can hardly be thinking more of yourself than of him. Anyone, of course, who has not welcomed this invisible but clearly present God, the Spirit of Christ, won't know what we're talking about. But for you who welcome him, in whom he dwells—even though you still experience all the limitations of sin—you yourself experience life on God's terms. It stands to reason, doesn't it, that if the alive-and-present God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into your life, he'll do the same thing in you that he did in Jesus, bringing you alive to himself? When God lives and breathes in you (and he does, as surely as he did in Jesus), you are delivered from that dead life. With his Spirit living in you, your body will be as alive as Christ's!”
Romans 8:9-11 (The Message)
Easter means no more resignation, no more quiet desperation. No more sulking in the corner over failures of the past, convinced that we’ve been taken out of the running. It’s a day to be filled with the same courage that drove Jesus’ followers to the ends of the earth with the message that the Kingdom of God had commenced in Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. It takes serious power to raise a man from the dead. Our mistakes are no match for that kind of earth-shaking strength.
“Maybe redemption has stories to tell. Maybe forgiveness is right where you fell. Where could you run to escape from yourself? Where you gonna go? Where you gonna go? Salvation is HERE.”
Dare You to Move, by Switchfoot