Resurrection Perspective

A woman came and hugged me after the 9am service. With a soft smile and glassy eyes, she told me that she was having a double mastectomy this week, but it’s okay. I was stunned by the strength and joy he she carried in her body as she held my hand and told me so briefly what she’ll be doing this week. She thank me for my sermon, told me it was for her, then she was out the door.

I didn’t know what to do. I was speechless and frozen, then she was gone. I probably needed to do more than smile back and say “thank you.” I just couldn’t imagine what kind of pain and fear she must be going through. But in her smile, she only embodied peace and joy. I couldn’t understand that, especially after the sermon I had just preached.

In my sermon, I shared that because of the resurrection of Christ, everything has been taken care of, and these present troubles are just misunderstandings. Our present struggles are like battles being fought unaware that the war is over, and that evil lost. I was a little hesitant about the sermon. I was fearful that calling our present troubles “misunderstandings” would belittle the real pain and fear that plague us so often. I was fearful that some would misunderstand what I mean, and assume that we should forget about this life and look only to the next. You never know what people are going to take away.

So I was scared when she told me that she was having a real struggle. I would never tell a cancer patient that what she is going through is just a misunderstanding. But that’s exactly what I did about 15 minutes before she hugged me. She thanked me for it. I was stunned. She could see her cancer in the perspective of the resurrection. The ultimate battle has been won for her and for all creation. The Lord is redeeming and has redeemed her body, and in the end will transform it to be like his. This cancer, it has just misunderstood where it fits in God’s world. This cancer has gone after something that God has already paid for. This death, this pain, this threat, has mistakenly targeted the creation that God has already redeemed. In the end, God will win.

Even if these troubles are just misunderstandings, we are still called to clear up misunderstandings, righting injustice, feeding the hungry, liberating the oppressed. When we clear up these misunderstandings, we proclaim that the war has been won.

After she hugged me and walked away, I had to preach that sermon 3 more times to the other services. I couldn’t stop thinking about her. I wonder if I have the guts to take the resurrection as seriously as she does. Will I be able to say, “It is well with my soul”? Will my joy in the Lord remain intact like hers? I hope so.

peace to your souls!†

-Ric