By Rick Warren
February 1, 2016
Five days after Easter in 2013, my 27-year-old son ended his own life. He battled mental illness since he was a child, and despite the best doctors, meds, therapy, prayers and love, he lost his battle for hope. The day Matthew gave in to despair was the worst day of my life. Our family was devastated.
Since then, I’ve often been asked, “How have you made it? How have you kept going in your pain?” And I’ve often replied, “The answer is Easter.”
Do you ever find yourself discouraged, depressed, defeated or even devastated by the circumstances in your life? If so, let me encourage you about the pathway to hope, change and transformation that I found in the Easter story of the resurrection of Jesus.
The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus happened over three days: Friday was a day of suffering, pain and agony; Saturday was a day of doubt, confusion and misery; but Easter Sunday was a day of hope, joy and victory.
You will face these three days over and over in your lifetime. And when you do, you’ll find yourself asking—just like I did—three fundamental questions:
What do I do in my days of pain?
You do the two things Jesus did on the last day of His life.
First, reach out to friends. We see this in Jesus’ life in Matthew 26:36-39, where the Bible tells us two startling facts: even the Son of God need friends in the middle of pain. You see, this is the exact opposite of what you normally do. When you’re in pain, you typically isolate yourself. But that is a mistake. God never meant for you to go through life on your own.
And then, look at how open and gut-level honest Jesus is about His emotional condition. He doesn’t sugarcoat it. No, He tells them exactly how He feels. He says, “My heart is so overwhelmed and so crushed with sorrow, I feel like I am dying.”
Second, like Jesus did, you need to reach out to God the Father. You do that by praying (Mark 14: 35-36). When you are in your worst day of pain and you need to talk to God about it, you don’t need to use fancy language. Just say, “Daddy, help,” because your heavenly Father loves you.
You can pray just like Jesus did. He prayed for three things. When you are in pain, pray the Gethsemane prayer: 1) I know You can do anything; 2) I don’t want this pain; and 3) I want Your will, not mine.
How do I get through my days of doubt and confusion?
You need to remember the promises of God. Never doubt in the dark what God has shown you in the light.
What do we know about God in the light? We know God sees everything you go through. We know God cares about everything you go through. We know God grieves when you hurt.
The only reason you’re able to have sorrow and grief is because you’re made in God’s image and God grieves.
We know God loves you unconditionally and He will never stop. We know God is close. We know God wants the best for you. We know God can bring good even out of bad, even out of evil, when we give Him the pieces.
How to I get to my days of joy and victory?
You rely on the power of Jesus. You can’t resurrect yourself; you need a Savior. You need to trust Him. The answer for you, just like for me, is Easter. Sunday is the day of joy.
Originally published at RELEVANT Magazine
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