Bear with me for a minute or so if you would. This is either going to be a very quick few phrases meant to encourage, or might be a longer, winding road to the same destination. (P.S. It’s the latter.)
When I was a kid, I experienced something on a regular basis that I didn’t have a name for. Now I know what it is, because I still struggle with it, and I’ve sought to surround myself with people who will help me to deal with it. Its most common name is Anxiety. If I’m honest, there’s probably a clinical or chemical component to it, so I don’t mean for what follows to ignore that very real possibility, both for me and maybe others who struggle similarly.
I worry. A lot, actually. I worry that I am not measuring up at work or at home. I worry that I’m going to disappoint someone. I worry that I’m going to lose my job or that I’m not going to be able to pay the bills. I worry that I’m not parenting well and that my children are going to suffer because of that. Sometimes – and I wish I were making this up – there’s nothing specifically on my mind that I’m worried about, and then I become worried that I forgotten something that I need to worry about. It’s OK, you can say it out loud to yourself: that’s nuts!
As a side note, one of the ways I would deal with this when I was younger has carried over into my adult life. I was never really the class clown, but there were several of us who probably enjoyed cutting up in the back of the class a little too much. It was cathartic, but it also probably prevented me from facing some tough realities. Regardless, I really like to laugh, and I enjoy when others laugh along with me. Since we’re knee-deep in honesty at this point, there’s also a component of seeking validation in that desire. I’m sure the two go hand-in-hand.
Anyway, I’ve heard preachers and teachers in the past say that anxiety is a sin, and I honestly don’t know what to do with that. For the most part, I think what they mean is that we are not meant to live in fear or in worry. But when you are in the midst of it, to have someone compare it to a moral failing is kind of a secondary kick in the gut, and not one that’s always helpful. Maybe that’s why we’re finally seeing mental health professionals becoming an integral part of many ministries. We are spirit, but we’re living in these fragile frames.
I guess my point is this:
I’m sure this has been observed many times before, but today, this Saturday between “Good Friday” and Easter Sunday, as I reflect on my recent worries, it’s clear we’re living in the in-between, both literally because of recent world developments, and figuratively in light of what Easter weekend represents. This is a very real but also representative time of anxiety, of uncertainty. I imagine Jesus’s friends and family were racked with fear and uncertainty during this 24 hours or so too, as all the things they had worked so hard for had presumably crumbled. So, it’s probably very apropos that we are living in a period of global uncertainty like no one in this generation, at least, has known. I know I’ve never experienced an Easter weekend like this.
But tomorrow. Tomorrow is the day that changes everything. Today is really humanity’s darkest day, when nothing makes sense, when everything threatens to overwhelm, when we can’t be with the ones we love, when what we thought made sense and was going to save us and which gave us security has been taken away.
Tomorrow changes everything. Because of tomorrow, we know that whatever temporary anxieties or pains or fears we will go through, whatever health struggles, whatever diseases, whatever broken relationships, whatever loss of income, whatever anger issues, whatever shame, whatever feelings of inadequacy, whatever royal mess ups, whatever chemical imbalances, whatever addictions, whatever – whatever those things are, they will ultimately – maybe not as quickly as we’d like but ULTIMATELY – be overcome by the One who walked out of the grave, IF we will just turn to Him.
Praying that everyone has a really good Easter weekend, one filled with hope far beyond whatever lies in store at the end of this current crisis. I pray this whether you’re yet again celebrating the one who changed everything, or getting to know Him for the first time.