When the Empty Tomb Seems Too Far Away

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I want to run.

I want to be like Peter, the disciple who ran for the tomb on the third day. The one who leaned in to the emptiness and believed.

“Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. And stooping to look in, he saw…” (John 20: 1-5)

I read the story of the Resurrection and cheer Peter on. My soul runs with him, toward the hope that I know is there… because I know the story so well. Because I love happy endings and want one for Peter- who’s floundering faith reminds me so much of my own.

In that story, in that moment in history, I’m all in. I’m racing Peter to the tomb.

But in my story, on the days that aren’t Easter… not so much.

When death threatens a relationship, I lock myself up tight and retreat. I shut down and convince myself that death is the end. I ran with Peter on Easter, but bolt the doors today.

When darkness brings anxiety, I busy myself. I grab for life’s spices – trying to make the stenches of life smell sweet. I cover up the aroma and pretend death is manageable. I ran with Peter on Easter, but I’m clenching my fists today.

When accusations bring shame, I walk fast and run my mouth. I explain, deny, and pretend death has no business in my story. I ran with Peter on Easter, but I take a wide girth around the tomb today.

When waiting brings doubt, I wring my hands and wander. My eyes play tricks on me, my ears block out the truth, and I believe death holds the power. I ran with Peter on Easter, but I fall faint on the ground today.

I believe in the power of the Resurrection on Easter, but I’m filled with doubt on Easter Monday, on Tuesdays in May, and especially on Thursdays in the dead of winter.

Death screams over the echoes of our Easter hymns and steals our joy. I want the whisper of hope to sound like a gun at the start of a race, twitching my muscles and pumping my heart.

Death sneaks around the Easter lilies and paralyzes us. I want to run. I want to sprint, flat-out with empty hands and gasping for air.

Death tears at our Easter finery and holds us hostage. I want to have the courage to lean way into the darkest tombs of life and see freedom there.

Much of the time, the glory of Easter seems to0 distant. I squint, but I can’t make it out. I strain to hear, but can’t. It’s much too far away to run there.

But the good news isn’t contained in a tomb. The hope of Easter extends way beyond the Easter lilies. The beauty lasts way longer than our Easter finery, and the songs continue long after all of  our singing has faded away.

Easter is not only for those who are strong enough to run.

Jesus knocks on the door of those who shut themselves away. My door. He enters into my space and breathes life on my pain.

Jesus greets visitors outside the tomb. He greets me there. He allows me to embrace Him long enough so I can empty my hands and believe.

Jesus meets the walkers and talkers on the road. He meets me. He matches my pace and redirects my conversation so I don’t wander too far.

Jesus pursues the doubters. He pursues me. He takes my trembling hand and presses it into His healing wounds so I’ll know.

He knows I can’t always run with the hope of Easter. He knows  – and brings Easter to me.

Are you still celebrating Easter? If so, rejoice in today’s grace to run. Run with joy and celebrate in the light.

Or does the joy and light of Easter seem far away? If that’s the case, listen for His knocking, drop whatever your holding, stand still and quiet, and watch for Easter to come to you.

He’ll bring it to you, so you’ll know once again.

“I am the resurrection and the life.  Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)

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23 thoughts on “When the Empty Tomb Seems Too Far Away

  1. Gayl April 7, 2015 / 9:59 am

    “He knows I can’t always run with the hope of Easter. But He knocks, greets, meets, and pursues, until it washes over me and I believe once again.” Yes! He knows. He understands. He pursues. He will never leave us alone, even when we can’t see through the darkness. He is still with us. Thank you for this beautiful post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Karen Brown April 7, 2015 / 7:43 pm

      Gayl- thank you for stopping by. May you always feel His pursuit. Blessings, Karen

      Like

  2. Ceil April 7, 2015 / 11:38 am

    Hi Karen! Today, I feel like running, but you’re so right, there are days when I don’t feel like that at all. But I have to remember that he’s always with me, whether I run or not. Peter was a very conflicted person at times, so that gives me a lot of hope!
    I hope your Easter was a wonderful celebration 🙂
    #RaRa Linkup,
    Ceil

    Liked by 1 person

    • Karen Brown April 7, 2015 / 7:44 pm

      Ceil- Thanks so much for reading. Yes- God is always with us – offering His steady love. Blessings, Karen

      Like

  3. Leah Adams (@PointMinistries) April 7, 2015 / 3:25 pm

    I love how Jesus never stops pursuing us…even when we are not pursing Him. The transparency of your post is a blessing. Stopping in from #RaRalinkup!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Karen Brown April 7, 2015 / 7:44 pm

      Leah Adams- Thanks so much for reading! Blessings, Karen

      Like

  4. Julie Lefebure April 7, 2015 / 7:24 pm

    Karen, this is precious. Your words hit home with me, again. Thank you for the hope you extend through God’s Word, and for pointing us to truth. I’m grateful He brings Easter to me! Hugs to you today.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Karen Brown April 7, 2015 / 7:45 pm

      Julie- Thanks so much for your kind words of encouragement. Blessings to you!

      Like

  5. kristine April 7, 2015 / 7:28 pm

    Beautiful, Karen! What an awesome picture- running toward the tomb. I hold onto that image today, and hope I can always remember to run with Peter!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. KatieReid April 8, 2015 / 6:43 am

    Oh Friend, you truly are one of my favorite writers. Thank you for pouring your soul on page; beautiful, deep, real. What comfort is found here, thank you.

    Like

    • Karen Brown April 9, 2015 / 5:38 am

      Katie- Coming from one of MY favorite writers, that means a lot. Thank you so much.

      Like

  7. Meredith Bernard April 8, 2015 / 9:23 am

    This right here speaks volumes, Karen, “He knows I can’t always run with the hope of Easter. He knows – and brings Easter to me.” Yes! He brings it to us when we can’t run to Him. Karen, I’ve missed you. I’ve missed your words. I’m beyond grateful to read you today. And I’m not just saying that. 😉 xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Karen Brown April 9, 2015 / 5:39 am

      Meredith- Thank you so much. I’ve missed you too- and always grateful for your encouragement. lv u

      Like

  8. Tai East April 8, 2015 / 7:33 pm

    Karen, this was truly truly amazing to read! “He knows I can’t always run with the hope of Easter. He knows – and brings Easter to me.” <— Beautiful and powerful truth! I love that so much! Thank you so much for sharing this! Infinite blessings to you, Love! 🙂

    #RaRaLinkup 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Karen Brown April 9, 2015 / 5:36 am

      Thank you so much for your encouraging words. May Easter be close to you today. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Tai East April 9, 2015 / 9:02 am

        You’re very welcome! Praying the same for you, Love! 🙂

        Like

  9. Mary Suzanne April 9, 2015 / 4:56 am

    Thank you for the gift of your writing. God’s hope and love knocked on my door as I read this – a very special delivery.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Karen Brown April 9, 2015 / 5:29 am

      Mary Suzanne- Thank YOU for reading and for leaving your encouragement here.

      Like

  10. joanneviola April 9, 2015 / 11:06 am

    Karen, so grateful to have stopped here this morning for this >>> “He knows I can’t always run with the hope of Easter. He knows – and brings Easter to me.” And so He did, through your words. Thank you for reminding me of the hope we have in & through Him! Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Kelly Balarie April 11, 2015 / 4:42 pm

    Wonderful. Real. Poignant words. I cheer you today Karen for heartfelt and oh-so-true post. Much love to you as you embrace resurrection power all the time. Cheering you on from the #RaRalinkup at Purposeful Faith.

    Like

  12. messymarriage April 11, 2015 / 8:46 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing from such a vulnerable and authentic perspective, Karen. And I love your redemptive ending–God brings Easter to us! So true and so beautiful!

    Like

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