How to find joy in Easter when you feel forgotten by Jesus

It’s Easter.

But maybe it doesn’t feel like Easter to you. Maybe you’re still in your own Gethsemane, weeping, feeling alone in your agony. Maybe you’re still on the cross, crying out to the Father, wondering if he hears you. Whether it’s a long illness or recent diagnosis, whether it’s a tragedy in your neighborhood or somewhere else in the world, whether it’s unhappiness in a relationship or state in life, or maybe you’re simply just not finding fulfillment of the job you thought was your dream job — no matter what makes your heart heavy, it can be hard to put it aside and pretend everything is fine when Easter rolls around.

It’s easy to get caught up in our own lives, the things that we wish were better, the places that we wish Christ would heal right here, right now. But often, his timing is not our timing. Often, we have to sit with the ache, the pain, trusting that he is there with us, experiencing our suffering, our sorrow.

I’m reminded of a line from “The Chosen,” the streaming show about the life of Christ and his apostles. (If you haven’t watched the show, specifically Season 3, spoiler alert.) Simon Peter and his wife — named Eden in the show — are working through new depths of pain in their marriage. While Jesus has been off performing miracle after miracle for people he has just met, Simon and Eden experience a miscarriage that leads to wounded hearts and a breach in their relationship. They see their Lord, the one they believe to be the Messiah, healing wounds, giving sight, even restoring life — but not for them. Though they are closest to him, they are still waiting for their own miracle.

While Simon is wrestling with this grief, John the Apostle speaks truth to his heart, truth he probably doesn’t want to hear: Even though Christ has come, “bones will still break, hearts will still break.” Yes, Jesus has come to fix these things. But this is still not heaven. On this side of heaven, bones will still break, hearts will still break.

But unlike Simon and Eden at this point in the show, we have the full picture. We know — and this is important — that God is with us in our suffering. We have proof that God is not afraid to suffer what we suffer. We have a God that has given everything for us through his crucifixion, death and resurrection.

So yes, on this side of eternal happiness, we still live with the ache of unfulfilled desires, of unmended wounds, but with Christ alongside us.

Sisters, if you feel like you are still in the tomb, waiting to rise, or if you feel that you’ve been passed over by Christ, that his resurrection does not apply to you, let me assure you: Christ is here in your ache, and there will be resurrection. Maybe not for a long time, maybe not this side of heaven. But by learning to love the Lord with your whole heart, by learning to trust and surrender to him more and more, there will be redemption for you. Cling to that hope, dear sisters. And rejoice that the Lord has risen. And one day, he will bring you to glory as well.

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