I live in a world of pain. It is the world I chose to enter when I became a Clinical Counselor. Nobody can escape some amount pain and suffering in their work but in my case, I invite it into my office every day. Nobody sees a therapist because they are happy and content with their life.
But I also live in a world of transformation – a place of wonder and unlimited opportunity. For where there is pain there is an opportunity for comfort where there is despair there is room for hope and where there is death there is resurrection.
This is the message of Easter. It is the story that is written in our hearts if we chose to believe it. We simply need to open our eyes and see it everywhere, for God has revealed our true destiny in a new blossom of Spring, the birth of a child and the rising of the sun.
Even our modern agnostic culture has embraced Easter in its most popular media. Who can imagine a superhero movie ending tragically?
This is because the fundamental truth of human existence is hope for redemption. Tolkien wrote of the life of Jesus as the archetypical story of humanity. He called the resurrection a eucatastrophe
(eu = good, catastrophe = disaster)
Easter is not only a day we celebrate what was done for us – it is a day we celebrate our own resurrection if we are willing to believe it. But there can be no resurrection without death and there can be no great eucatastrophe without first passing through the valley of hopeless desperation. The sooner we accept this great theme the sooner we will be able to participate in the powerful truth of Easter.
So what hopeless situation do you struggle with? Is there an obstacle that seems insurmountable? If so you are perfectly set up for your own personal eucatastrophe. This is not some self-improvement psychological mumbo-jumbo nor is it a quick fix that will make everything around you bright and shiny.
Remember, eucatastrophes come in the last chapter.
This doesn’t mean that you need to wait until you’re physically dead to experience a resurrection but you will need to be willing to die to whatever has held you down and caused you to become hopeless. The sooner you get to that place where you run out of options and are frustrated with all that you’ve tried the sooner you will find your own personal resurrection.
This is the way of the resurrection – when all hope is lost something penetrates the darkness and brings about a metamorphosis that was not expected and could not have been anticipated. The disciples did not expect the resurrection … in fact they were disbelieving even when they heard eyewitness accounts. This was because they “knew” that Jesus was dead and that all hope was lost. Fearful, grieving and stuck in their limited understanding, they huddled in the upper room believing all was lost. It was not until they were shaken from their disbelief by Jesus’ appearance that their minds and hearts were open to a new and powerful reality.
This is what it means to die. Whatever you “know” must die to make way for the new.
- You may “know” that a relationship will never improve
- You may “know” that your career will never be fulfilling
- You may “know” that you will never be healthy
- You may “know” that you will never be truly happy
- You may “know” that you will never be loved
Your personal eucatastrophe will not come from what you know but from you have yet to know. If the resurrection is true then all the other promises of God are also true.
When we continue to live in our failure we are denying the resurrection of Jesus and choosing to live in doubt and fear. It’s as if Jesus steps into your room and shows you his nail pierced hands and you refuse to believe.
When faced with the reality of having true resurrection power available to us do we still choose to live in our fears?
But even when we “see” the truth we still need help – so God has made that available to us also. We simply need to honestly admit our own futility, confess our faithlessness and accept the free gift of resurrection power who is the Holy Spirit. This is the doorway to your personal eucatastrophe.
This is not a “one and done” choice, (oh, I wish it were!) but a continual choosing of the Spirit’s power to work in and through us, in ways, we cannot do ourselves.
I confess that I am so weak that I must do this daily. Every morning the clouds of doubt and fear creep over me like a morning mist and I must begin each day with reminding myself that God is in control, that he is good, that he loves me, and he is worthy of being trusted because he is faithful. This is not a small matter to me – it is as important as breathing for if I fail to do this my spirit will wither and die. If there is any good that comes from my life I attribute it to this daily cleansing of my mind and heart and the resurrection work of the Holy Spirit.
Are you ready for your eucatastrophe? Have you reached a point where you are desperate to see resurrection power in your life? Then you are in a blessed place and ripe for miracles.