Finding Resurrection

This Easter season was a unique one for me. My husband and I were able to visit his family for the long weekend – a rare and wonderful privilege to be able spend a holiday with family who live on the other side of the country. This Easter season was also a very special one for our family as it marked God’s healing in the midst of our journey with infertility. After three and a half years of waiting, hoping, trying, praying, we were approaching the end of my first trimester and dreaming with family about this new little life.  

I’m often struck by how infertility threads through the Bible. Sarah could not have children and God gave her a child, Isaac. Rachel could not have children and God gave her two sons, Joseph and Benjamin. Hannah could not have a child and God gave her a child, Samuel. Elizabeth could not have a child but God gave to her a child, John. And of course, God placed His own Son in the womb of a virgin, Mary. There is this thread of God bringing children to the childless. Life, where there had only been death.

This year I also observed Lent for the first time. It had its ups and downs. For the most part, it was a very positive experience. Every once and a while though, I found myself wrestling with what the point was. Why did this even matter? But the thing I loved most about Lent was the way it continually reminded me to look to the Cross. I deeply appreciated the slow unfolding of the Easter season I experienced with Lent – the looking forward, the waiting.

Life, like Lent, is filled with waiting. Waiting to celebrate a holiday. Waiting for a new season we see around the corner. Waiting for a child. Waiting brings an intentional awareness to Jesus’ journey in His last days here on earth. Palm Sunday, when Jesus entered the scene in the most unexpected way, and was welcomed and embraced. Maundy Thursday, Jesus’ final Passover with His disciples and the day He was betrayed. Good Friday, the day He took the justice we deserved to give us the grace and mercy we desperately need. And Holy Saturday, the day Jesus body lay in a tomb. The day of waiting.

I often really enjoy the day before Easter. Typically quieter than Easter Sunday itself, Holy Saturday is often filled with quiet family time and simply being together, with waiting. This year on the Saturday morning before Easter, I pulled out my phone and quickly scanned the verse of the day.   

“He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all their faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken.” – Isaiah 25:8

He will swallow up death forever. What a picture of the Resurrection. The power of God swallowing up death – not just in one man, but for all mankind, for all time. In a world that was ruled by death and law, Christ conquered, bringing in life and grace. To a waiting people, He gave Himself. To a waiting world, He gave Himself.

In the midst of all our celebrations, the night before Easter I started bleeding. And not nicked-your-finger-while-cooking bleeding. Twelve weeks pregnant bleeding. Nearing the end of your first trimester, there are few sights more heart-stopping than that of blood in places there shouldn’t be. I dialed my midwife as my heart-rate shot immediately to one hundred and ten, and my husband and I held tight to each other as we prayed.

God, have mercy. God, have mercy. God, have mercy.

That was all I had. No words to express what I was feeling, just a gut-instinct to plead with God for the thing only He can do – bring life and conquer death.

We were told to wait out the next couple hours and see what would happen. So we continued with our plans to visit some deeply-missed friends, all the while desperately praying. As we drove towards a cafe two towns away I pulled out my phone and again I read, this time with voice shaking and through tears.

“He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all their faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken.” – Isaiah 25:8

He will swallow up death forever.

I spent the next two hours rushing to the bathroom every twenty minutes, and every twenty minutes was the same: no more blood. He will swallow up death forever.

Easter Sunday arrived. The day of the Resurrection. I stood in church, reflecting on the Resurrection and worshiping. All creation cries out in worship. All creation. Even the yet-to-be-born kind. Hand over my womb on Easter Sunday, I prayed, Lord let this child worship you.

Three days later I lay on the couch at the midwife’s office while cold gel rolled across my stomach and a doppler pushed in, trying to get a read on the baby’s heartbeat.

“When they’re this small, it’s a bit like finding a needle in a haystack,” she said.

We waited.

One minute passed. Then two. Then three. The midwife grew more focused, and I again prayed.

God, have mercy. God, have mercy. God, have mercy.

Finally the midwife stopped. She couldn’t find the heartbeat. But we were still early, that could still be normal. She would ask one of the other midwives to try as well. So another midwife came in, and we began again.

One minute passed. Then two. Then she stopped. Can you hear it, she said? Are you sure, I said?

There is was. The tiny whoosh-whooshing reminder that God has conquered death. That He gives good gifts to His children. That He brings new life.

That He will swallow up death forever.

Two thousand some years ago on Easter Sunday, the power of the living God conquered death and Jesus rose – powerful, reigning, victorious. And while we still exist in the temporary pain of death – bodies that slowly fade away, loved ones we bury far too soon, the permanence of death has been lost. God has swallowed it up forever. Death leads to an eternity of full and utter worship in His presence, finally made perfect.

He has, and He will, swallow up death forever.

The Resurrection is a reminder that death has been defeated. Into sin and death, He brings grace and freedom. Into waiting He gives Himself. In defeat He gives hope, into sorrow He brings joy. In struggle He brings comfort, in childlessness, a child.

The power of sin and death is broken. Instead, through the power of the cross we have freedom, grace and new life.

And that is Easter. That is the Resurrection.

 

3 thoughts on “Finding Resurrection

  1. lisete isaak says:

    Wow Brittany. This article really touched me. Amazing writing, seriously. My eyes are rimming with tears…. I can feel your raw pain…. and then the overwhelming joy at the midwifes office when that precious heartbeat was found. Beautifully written.. I loved how you tied it in with the Easter story…. A truly excellent article. Lisete

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    Like

  2. Charmaine Kelder says:

    Brittany, I had little idea that your obvious gifts included such a delightful, exquisite way with words. You use them to wrap the treasures of the heart given to you through longing and faith and God’s sovereign deposit in your being. Please add me to the blog notification list. I look forward to reading other such treasures.

    Like

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