This year, things are different. There have been some disappointing set-backs with my next book. I've been involved in some difficult disagreements. The success of the last play has faded and I'm in the stressful part of the next show. My health isn't all I wish it was and I've been ill and in some pain for a while now. Of course, I am very blessed, in absolute as well as relative terms. My point is that I'm not in the same ebullient place as I was when I wrote this piece.
But that is the miracle of Easter, the miracle of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. His Atonement is there to give hope in the darker times and to ground and magnify our joy in the good times. Life changes, and fortunes ebb and flow but the Christ and His promises to give us beauty out of ashes remain constant And that is worth celebrating.
Happy Good Friday! I’ve always loved Good Friday, it’s a peaceful, gentle sort of day. Hyacinths and daffodils are blooming, the trees are flowering, birds are singing, and the weather is mild and comfortable. It’s really quite a good holiday.
The great irony, and I am supremely unoriginal in passing this along, is that Good Friday is only good for us because it was so very, very bad for the Savior. His suffering the night before in the Garden of Gethsemane when he confronted every evil, ugly, and troubling aspect of mortality left him physically and spiritually weakened. I can’t comprehend the pain that would have killed any of us. Eventually it left, but it would have also left Him terribly, horribly, painfully exhausted. I think of busy days when I was tired, how hard it was to get through them, and then I think of him. Facing his greatest suffering at the time of his weakest physical and spiritual state. Fatigue makes everything seem so much worse.
And then, to be mocked and beaten and scorned by the very people you were trying to save….
I have a small tradition I do on Good Friday. I note the time at nine-o-clock and then think of Him being nailed to the cross. I try to watch the clock and notice just how long six hours is and I try to understand the love that drove Him to allow Himself to suffer like this—and the love that drove his Father to allow it as well.
The first Good Friday must have seemed like a living, neverending hell.
Had it ended there, it would have been tragic and awful. But Good Friday was merely the prologue. It set the stage for the astounding miracle of the Resurrection.
The immense suffering and pain were necessary to generate the power behind the tremendous miracle.
But here’s what I’ve been thinking about. To me, Easter Sunday is the promise of healing and life. Easter Sunday was the culmination—the Resurrection broke the hold of death and pain and sealed Jesus’ ability to heal us. But, I have to wonder if perhaps His profound suffering on Good Friday produced the empathy and the compassion that motivate Him to heal us. His triumph on Easter gave Him power, but perhaps His suffering on Good Friday gave Him the motivation to do all He does—and taught him how to nurture and nourish us in our own suffering.
I believe in the miracle of Easter. It’s not just a myth or a fable. It is a living reality, a true story—and so is the hero of the story. My hero. Jesus Christ. I know He’s real. And I know that because in so many ways, inside and out, physically and spiritually, He has healed me.
I wrote the lyrics to a song in my book. I don’t post them thinking I am a great lyricist. These are simply my personal expression of faith and gratitude—my witness of the reality of Jesus’ love and healing power—even today (you can hear a beautiful singer sing this, incidentally, on my book trailer). It’s my personal celebration of the miracle of Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
“He Healeth Me”
In life He healed the blind man,
His mercy touched the lame.
The leprous and the halt,
The deaf man and the dumb,
He healed all who came.
In pages of the scriptures,
Their stories testify
Of the Master’s love and power,
And sound this joyful cry
He healeth me.
“He healed and blessed so many,
But that was long ago,
Today, I too have sorrow, sicknesses, and sin,
And wonder where to go.
Why doesn’t He still heal?
Why can I not be whole?
Will he not calm the tempest
That rages in my soul?
In my despair I waver,
My faith begins to shrink
Until from living water,
I humbly start to drink,
And then I see
He healeth me.
Across the years and miles,
I’ll find Him if I seek,
He’ll take away my burdens,
Give strength where I am weak.
He’ll comfort me in sorrow,
Heal sickness, cleanse my sin.
Now I can testify,
With all my grateful heart,
He healed me.
He truly healed me.
(copyright, Braden Bell 2010)