Easter is coming upon us in America at an interesting time this year. Of course, no explanation is necessary for anyone to know why. It is hard to find some joy and celebration with family this year, especially if they are sheltering in a home separate from you, if they are older, or if they may have been sick recently and at risk.
But I have something very strange to say to people this Easter Holiday. And bear with me as I explain what I mean to both those who are religious, and those who are not. It is hard and there is great worry and fear in this time. And while each person individually has different things they are dealing with, I speak generally to humanity as a whole.
As a people, some have handled the issue quite well, and there is a lot of inspiration in this world right now. So, to those who are just at home avoiding the virus and dealing with being couped up right now, “Suffer well.”
I understand some are dealing with death or severe sickness, and that is something different. But to the rest of us dealing with the shelter order, there is hard times for reasons.
If you lived in a world that never stormed, would you get tired of the sun? Would that matter at all when you start thinking that you couldn’t grow food, the land would dry up? Animals couldn’t live. It’s a part of the cycle.
For an axe to be sharp, it must have the stone to grind against. For one to build muscle, they must work the muscle and stress that muscle.
Speaking Religiously, countless ministers have spoken about God using the hard times to help you grow. The Bible is full of stories about people who suffered, but great things came from their pain. The central story of the Bible and of Easter focuses on a man who suffered for you. That is the whole idea. That is the whole point. Suffer, whether it is for love, for a greater good, for others. Enjoy the good and bask in that light, but during the storms look to the good that will come next. And there are storm clouds over America right now.
Speaking not-so-religiously, look at the cycle of this planet, for every drought, there is a good season. For every dark storm and rough rain, there is a point when the light breaks through the clouds. There is a rainbow that follows the rain. Focus on the moment you’re in, and learn that in general, people who go through tough times, get stronger because of it. When we were attacked, as a nation, how quickly did the steel of our will harden to offer help? Would the firefighters amid the towers be the heroes they have become if there wasn’t a tragedy to highlight their heroism?
Yes, it would be great if tragedy didn’t happen, but it does. As we celebrate Easter, a time of joy and laughter over the years, we may not feel like celebrating much in our homes. Maybe we feel trapped in our four walls, but there is so much to celebrate. Even as we “suffer” in our time of worry and uneasiness in our country, we celebrate the death of one man who sacrificed his life for love. Celebrate your faith if it says he rose again. Celebrate your faith in humanity as you constantly find story after story about this person who is making medical masks for people and adding a little light and color to others lives or that person who is donating food to the community pantry for those in need.
To “suffer well” is not something you are just going to do, though. It’s a choice, yes, but it is action and determination. Focus on the strength you gain from this fear. Focus on the good you see. While some media outlets focus on the virus, seek out the stories of those who are helping. Those who are working. Be determined not to get angry if the store is out of something, instead thank someone for continuing to work and trying to keep stock on the shelves amid this virus. They are working with the same fear you have. The police officer is patrolling the town closer to people than you really want or need to be right now.
What about that firefighter who got exposed to the virus because he was trying to help you? It wasn’t even a life saving venture, but someone still needed him or her. That firefighter has a daughter that they couldn’t see for fourteen days because they were there for you. They didn’t see you and try to decide if it was worth it. They responded, they reacted. They suffered for you. They were separated from family and friends, for a stranger. That firefighter suffered well, and it was hard.
You may not celebrate the religious holiday, but a majority of America celebrates something on this day. Even if you think candy eggs and bunny rabbits are dumb, but you still join with your family because they want you there. You are celebrating with them, celebrating life and love. And if you do celebrate the religious holiday, then all the more, celebrate a man who suffered so much more than you probably ever will. What is worth such suffering? What is so precious, that it is worth that firefighter’s sacrifice? Worth Jesus’ sacrifice? Worth you staying home and being uncomfortable? Worth the efforts we all put into maintaining life through all this going on?
Suffer well, my people. Suffer well this Easter for the love of family, of friends, of strangers, of this nation, and of hope for tomorrow and how much stronger we will be then. Suffer well.