Every Easter, I observe myself and other Christians searching in the Easter vigil for current meaning and significance. I hear pastors preach sermons, trying something new, a fresh angle on the Easter story, to engage and arrest our attention. Christians, alike, want to feel the wonder of the resurrection. We want the splendor of Jesus’ death-to-life drama to impact us.
It is necessary and invaluable to retell the historical events, each stage of the passion of Christ. But it seems we long to know, “What does this mean for us today?” This morning, when I read this statement by Miroslav Volf, my heart responded with affirmation and gratitude—the sense that this is what the resurrection means for me today.
For the God who resurrects, nothing is an end! There is no grim verdict that has the final say. No death that can ultimately steal the potential for life. There is nothing unredeemable. There is no trap that cannot be sprung—no pathway whose final destination leads nowhere. If God resurrected Jesus, then He can resurrect anyone, anything, any pain, and any dream. The resurrection implants hope that God brings life out of death.
Miroslav Volf goes on to tell of his experience with infertility. “Poison and curse—that’s how an unexplained infertility of ours felt to me for what seemed like an eternity. Nine years of trying to have a child of our own was like having to drink bitter waters from a poisoned well, month after month.”
Finally, after an agonizing nine years, he and his wife were given the gift of two incredible sons through adoption. Volf reflects: “Fertility would have robbed me of my boys. From my present vantage point, that would have been a disaster—the disaster of not having what I so passionately love….Since it gave me what I now can’t imagine living without, poison transmuted into a gift, God’s strange gift. The pain of it remains. But the poison is gone.”
I know what it is like to see God transmute poison into a gift. I think of a life situation from my recent past. The pain of that experience remains, but the poison has been mostly drained out. Through the pain of letting go, God has freed us. What had been a toxic compilation of circumstances has now become our release. That’s one of the ways I see my story connect with the hope in a God who resurrects!