It never ceases to amaze me that when things in my life — family, business, church or other facets — seem to go so well, something will go bad almost instantly.
Once I get to feeling that everything is under control, something sad or ugly raises its head.
In many discussion groups over the years, the topic of the devil or evil actually existing in the world is a source of constant debate. I don't know if the devil really is red, has horns, a tail and carries a pitchfork, but I know evil exists and brings grief and pain to all of us.
Many people who do not believe in God and His love and grace point to terrible events to argue that there is no God — for if there were a God, these bad things would not happen. People wouldn't die of cancer or in accidents, hurricanes would not devastate countries (remember these are called acts of God) or any of the other examples of sadness. So how do we as United Methodists respond to the questions, and even taunts, about God's existence and how we can really believe, in their words, this fairy tale of Christianity?
As I ponder these questions today, I am so glad that we are close to Easter. I am so glad that we, as Christians, know that after days of darkness and despair, there is an Easter morning. I take great comfort, and I hope you do as well, that we are the people of the resurrection. That we have suffered the worst of experiences — the cruel and horrific death of our savior Jesus Christ — and after days of depression and sadness, we arrive at the wondrous light of Easter. We are so blessed because we, unlike the disciples and followers of Jesus Christ back then, know the final chapter of the story.
We Christians want to rush past Good Friday and go straight to Easter. We want to experience the joy of Christ rising and not the suffering and death. I don't think we truly appreciate the story unless we somehow experience the pain. Can you imagine the sadness the disciples and followers felt on Friday and Saturday and the joy they must have felt when they saw the risen Christ on Easter Sunday?
Today I am greatly saddened by all the sinful and bad things in our world. Today I feel almost overloaded by the terrible weight of pain that is happening in this world. Today I find it hard to believe that there will be a Resurrection Sunday.
Yet my faith tells me that there is a new day dawning and a new life for us all. We need to stay in prayer for all people and the church as we struggle with the reality of what is happening. I need to look for the light.
How about you?
Richard Hearne is Lay Leader of the North Texas Conference, which stretches from just this side of Bogata to just that side of Burkburnett. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.