God has been so gracious to us. Every Easter Sunday we have the exclusive privilege as twice-born children of God to rejoice in the reality that we will never truly die. We will live forever according to Jesus Christ (John 11:26), and His resurrection is the final blow to Satan. The greatest weapon that Satan had was death, and Jesus took it to the fullest, trounced it, and led it forth out of the tomb on a leash. Physical death, for the Christian, is now nothing more than a doorway into the fullness of our inheritance. In case you cannot tell…I love Easter because the truth of the Resurrection is the theme of my life. You see, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ has a never ending echo that is operative all throughout our lives as believers. It is an echo that can be both seen and heard.
All of us have had the heart-wrenching experience of being in relationships with others that, for one reason or another, ended poorly. That was the norm for me in my pre-conversion days, and my heart was stone-cold concerning meaningful relationships until that day of destiny in August of 1994 when Jesus raised me from my own spiritual tomb. I would love to say that becoming a Christian automatically removed all possibility of me experiencing dysfunctional relationships, but that would not be true. One of my most painful experiences as a believer occurred many years ago when a previously deep and meaningful relationship dissolved. It impacted me, my friend and many others with whom we shared a common friendship. There were tears, finger-pointing, anger, frustration and, most of all, deep hurt. The relationship died and so did a lot of beautiful history we shared which included powerful moments of spiritual oneness, Kingdom service together and more laughter than I could ever enumerate. It went from greatness to death in a very short time period. For both of us the reality of Proverbs 18:19 took root:
“A brother offended is more unyielding than a strong city, and quarreling is like the bars of a castle.” – Proverbs 18:19
Several years after that fallout, this old friend and I took some time to bridge communication and reconnect. Many years had passed and we were no longer who we once were back in those earlier days. Each of us matured through the crucible of pain. The purifying fires of God’s university opened our eyes to many things, including how we might have better loved and served one another during those days of our relational implosion. We welcomed Holy Spirit to come and intertwine our hearts together again in our Savior, and the laughter and lightness returned in such a way that neither of us felt the sting of that former death which put our friendship in an unnecessary and premature grave. The nature of God is to bring dead things back to life. It’s not an Easter-only scenario. In this life, we will experience multiple mini-deaths. Each one of these, because of Jesus, can also experience a mini-resurrection. These occurrences may not seem as significant as the Son of God emerging from the tomb, but they can only happen because He did exactly that. His resurrection touches our lives in innumerable ways. The term is not found in the Bible but I call this kind of occurrence relational resurrection. God brings dead things back to life. You likely need this somewhere in your own life today.
Let’s honor God by not writing each other off. Jesus said so much about the reality of our oneness in Him that we should be extremely slow to sever relational ties. He died to make us one with God. He rose to make us one with everyone else whom He has raised. Move closer in to others. Love them unto the uttermost and sacrifice whatever is proper in order to “preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” as Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:3. Pour out forgiveness as water to a desperate, dehydrated soul in the desert. Ask Jesus to roll the stone away from hearts – maybe even your own. You can be the one who offers it first, and stay open if the one to whom you offer relational resurrection does not receive it the first time. Or the second time. Or the third. Seek the One who titled Himself the Resurrection & the Life to make that reality an active element in your own life. Look for dead things to come back to life. Look for long-buried relationships to exit the tomb of failure. Expect Him to give you a relational resurrection. By the way, put down that shovel that you carry around, subconsciously looking for things to bury. We are people of resurrection, not death. Walk away from the graveyard and live in the place of light and life. Jesus does not hang out in graveyards. He only passes by them to bring forth in life whatever has been dead and buried. He is a grave robber.
So, my friend and I are still reconnected. We do not see each other as often as I would like but, when we do, I know that he is once again my friend. My good friend. My friend with whom I share resurrected a relationship. Once upon a time, it looked like there would never be shared life between him and I.
But Jesus touched us with His love and power. He brought us back to life.
Thank You, Jesus, for never being intimidated by things that are dead. Thank You that, because You live, everything else can too.