Sunday was a beautiful day, and our darling Arabella looked angelic, didn't she? As I scrolled through my Facebook news feed in the afternoon, admiring the parade of precious Easter photos from family and friends, dressed in their Sunday best, a curious thing happened.
As I viewed each person, each family, I thought of their story—many of which I know well—their struggles, their heartaches, their losses, some similar to my own. And even the people I’m not as familiar with, I knew they had a story, too. We all do. For some reason, all through the evening on Sunday, I couldn’t stop thinking about the people in the photographs, and how they were smiling.
I decided to jot down my thoughts, else I knew they’d keep me up all night. So, here they are, for what they’re worth.
I think it’s natural and appropriate that, as we grow up and start life as an adult, we expect certain things.
- We expect our parents will always love us.
- We expect to find love, in the romantic sense.
- We expect we will marry.
- We expect there will be children conceived and born.
- We expect our children will be healthy.
- We expect our family circle will never be broken—the one from which we came, and the one we created.
- We expect that, in time, our children will grow up and make a life of their own.
- We expect that grandchildren will be born and we will love them.
- We expect our spouse will not abandon us in times of suffering, or when the marital waters become rough, when love is tested, promises broken.
- We expect our children will always honor us.
- We expect our friends will remain true.
In today's culture, it may sound as if these expectations are unrealistic, the makings of a fairy-tale, but they’re not. They are all right in line with God’s word, with what He designed for us to be, and to enjoy in return. Jesus said, “I have come that you might have life more abundantly.” To paraphrase the Scriptures, it’s God’s desire that we prosper and be in good health, that husbands and wives stay together, that children honor their parents, that grandchildren bring joy to grandparents, that friends love at all times. These are not unrealistic expectations.
But you don’t have to look far to see that we are a world of broken people. If you have not personally experienced the shattering of expectations, you know family and friends who have. Broken homes. Broken relationships. Broken health. Broken dreams.
Many times, these conditions are due to our own neglect. We valued something else more than our family. We stopped listening to the spouse who kept trying to get our attention. We harmed our bodies with unhealthy consumptions and habits. We frittered away the funds that were needed to make a dream become reality. Other times, our health may break without warning, a child becomes ill, or we find ourselves watching those we love make selfish and harmful choices that will have long-term affects, yet we are unable to do anything about it.
In the end, we all have broken places, some so deep they seep into our bones. No matter what we may use to fill our voids and heal our wounds, the only lasting hope for human misery and brokenness is Jesus Christ, and as I studied the faces of each smiling person in the Easter photos on Sunday, I got a little choked up. There they were, many from broken homes, some experiencing broken health, broken relationships, grieving the loss of loved ones, but they were all smiling. It didn’t mean they were without sorrow; it meant they were not without hope!
This was not a new revelation, but, for some reason, the message of Easter was made new again. Because He lives, we can not only face tomorrow, but we can face it with hope and a smile.
Until next time, sweet friends, I leave you with a treasured image from the weekend and wish you a treasure-filled week.