Take your troubles to the Risen One

A long year has sputtered out during the holy season of Lent. Conflicting messages about the end or the resurgence of the pandemic… Life-changes and unexpected transitions… Worries over my parents’ health…

I have found myself feeling exhausted, listless, desolate.

This Easter, Jesus has come and stood in my immediate presence and I have stood in his.

“Peace be with you,” Jesus has whispered to me, proclaimed to me.

“I have been here all along. I rose from the dead. I live, the Risen One. Why are you troubled about the events in your life? Why do you wonder if I am here? If I can do anything?”

What troubles us…what troubles you…these 2000 years since Jesus burst the bars of death? Why does Jesus have to ask the same question of us as he asked of his disciples in today’s Gospel just days after his Resurrection?

I believe we sometimes don’t even realize we are troubled, we question, we doubt, we worry… Did the Apostles, after all, really get the depth of their confusion, insecurity, guilt, fear?

I believe that an inner suspicion gnaws at our heart today even as we recite the Credo… After all, we breathe the same air as the rest of humanity.

I believe there is this subtle desperation, so subtle we don’t even suspect it is there…

Why?

Even more than a year into the pandemic, we remain surrounded by questions, haunted by emptiness, suspicious about whether our life has real meaning. We have touched the small daily nothingness that often threatens to dominate our days. How much time people admit to scrolling through an endless social media feed without the will power to stop until they are exhausted? We live in a time where nothing is very strong as we are half-aware of the “dreary flickering of the mind over it knows not what and knows not why,” as C. S. Lewis said in The Screwtape Letters.

We suffer the absence of something—of Someone—that fascinates us, captivates us, bowls us over, seizes us…. “We are all of us limp” (Leo Tolstoy, The Idiot).

And then there is the Risen One who appears in our midst. There is something that happens right in front of our eyes. Someone who creates something new again and again, in heart after heart that will gaze upon him.

Jesus, in each encounter with another as recorded in the Gospels, asks only one question, “Will you love me?”

He doesn’t ask, “Did you get it right?” “Have you really learned how to pray yet?” “Have you converted completely this time?” “Have you succeeded?”

No. Instead, “Look at me. Love me. I am your brother, your Savior, your Shepherd, the One who is risen and at your side.”

I realized this Lent that my heart has been torn apart with this existential nothingness for quite some time. Call it nihilism. Call it skepticism. I believed. I trusted. But how I suffered because something had been taken from me as I breathed in the scary information and the ideology that has passed for the news which has bombarded us for over a year.

Then this Easter Vigil, Jesus said to me, “I am here, you can touch me, my hands my feet. I am real. My word is a promise. I guarantee it with my life. You can hold onto it and it will truly satisfy all your desire for affection, ultimate meaning, eternal desire and infinite happiness. It will not let you down. Breathe it in. Drink it. Read it not as inspiration. Read it as something that God has done and is doing and will do. They are not words. They are events that cannot be undone.”

Jesus opened my mind to “understand the scriptures,” to understand that he is acting in his Word for me. Now I am a witness to these things. I believe in this man, Jesus, the Risen Son of God and Savior, the Lamb of God. He has all my heart.

God so gently and only gradually is building up his story within my history and within world history. I trust him. No matter what happens to me, I shall live because he lives. I. Shall. Live. 

“Peace be with you,” Jesus whispers to you, proclaims to you.

“I have been here all along. I rose from the dead. I live, the Risen One. Why are you troubled about the events in your life? Why do you wonder if I am here? If I can do anything?”

Take your troubles to the Risen One. Doubt no longer, but believe.

Image: Robert Wilhelm Ekman, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

2 thoughts on “Take your troubles to the Risen One

  1. Thank you for expressing what most of us are feeling….this faith walk is not easy…believing without seeing….have to use all of our senses of our inner man…its being renewed day by day….without faith its impossible to please God…tall order but …i can do all things thru Christ who strengthens us….thank you again…

    Like

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