Who is With Us | Easter Reflection
April 12, 2020 by Dave Ebenhoh, Vice President of Mission Integration
Passover and Easter have come at a sobering time this year. In the last week, thousands of people have died across the United States, and tens of thousands around the world. And while those statistics might feel startling, they barely even begin to tell the full story of the suffering - children who have lost parents without being able to say goodbye, parents who have lost children before their time, those who have died separated from their families, nurses and doctors who have literally given their lives in hopes that others might live… the list, sadly, goes on.
Anyone who is paying attention, who is seeing and acknowledging all this suffering, has got to be asking Why? It’s one of our most basic human responses as we try to understand. In desperate hope to feel a bit of control, we cry out: Why?!? Why is this happening?
I wonder if this holy week brings us a better question. Instead of Why?, I wonder if we might ask: Who? Who is with us? At first, our reaction might be to push that question away in anger: No one is with me! I’m alone, forgotten, and abandoned! If anyone was with me, this wouldn’t be happening!
But Who is with us? is precisely the question of Passover, Good Friday, and Easter, for these are the days that remind us that we are not alone, that we are not forgotten, and that we are not abandoned even in our darkest moments. Passover reminds us that God lead the Jewish people to freedom after generations of slavery, and Good Friday and Easter remind us that God lifted Jesus from death after the suffering and despair of his crucifixion.
As I reflect on God sending Jesus to live among us and allowing him to be crucified, I can imagine God trying to tell us: I’m willing to suffer with you. The confusion, the abandonment, the death - all of it. I’m in it with you. I am with you even when it seems you must be alone. And, then, on this Easter morning, God shows us that our suffering, our despair, and our death are never the end of the story.
Seeing beyond what is in front of us can seem the hardest part, for we tend to think that what we can see right now is the end of the story: How can I see beyond my fear? Beyond my exhaustion? My despair?
Trusting there’s more to the story, when we’re afraid of what might happen next, takes a unique act of faith - an act of curiosity. For it is curiosity that leaves a window open for something unexpected, something unforeseen to happen next - curiosity leaves room for the story to continue.
As we move into another month of fighting this virus, I don’t know what the rest of the story holds, but I believe that the suffering we see now is not the end of that story, for there is someone with us.
As we walk down the hallway filled with patients, someone is with us. As we search for supplies that can’t be found, someone is with us. In the silence of our fear and dread, someone is with us. In the stress of our homes, someone is with us. In the suffering, someone is with us.
May our God be with each of you in unmistakable and unexpected ways as this story continues.