It Changes Everything

“It changes everything, you know.”  It’s the day after Easter, and that’s the sentence that keeps echoing through my mind.   Because it does.  Easter.  It changes everything.

In Ireland my daughter tells me it’s a holiday.  Easter Monday.  How fitting: That the day after Easter be—instead of a “let-down, back-to-the-humdrum” kind of day—a holiday.  It’s not, after all, “same-ol’ same ol.’”  How can it be, when redemption has been accomplished, sin forgiven, death defeated, and a glorious eternal future opened up before us?  Because He came, He lived, He died, and He rose again, nothing is ever the same again.

But we are easily fooled.  Is anything really all that different?   On this particular Monday in my life, I am jet-lagged and missing my grandkids after two wonderful weeks in Ireland.  There’s a lot that’s been left undone while I’ve been away.   My “to-do” list looks longer than my day.  And several items on it are things I’d rather avoid.  It was a lot more fun to shout “He is risen! He is risen indeed!” yesterday in church than to schedule doctor’s appointments and follow-up mammograms.

And you.  I’ll bet your kids got up just as early this day after Easter.  Or maybe your teenager didn’t want to get up at all.  And the laundry pile, the carpool, the grocery list, the budget crunch, even the creeping anxiety about one of your kids or your husband’s job—it’s all there.

Which takes me back to where I originally heard the sentence I can’t get out of my mind:  “It changes everything.”   Let me give you some context.  Several years ago I was speaking at a women’s event in another part of the country.  The hosting church had just that year begun a Mom to Mom program.   After I spoke, a buffet was served.  I was told “just sit anywhere you’d like.”  As I scanned the room, I was drawn toward a nearly empty table.  Something in my head said, “Just sit down and see who the Lord brings to sit next to you.”

I’ll never forget the beautiful young woman who came and joined me.  I can’t remember her name, but I will always remember what she said.  She began by thanking me for doing Mom to Mom.  She told how helpful it had been to her, particularly with special challenges she experienced as mom with a disability.  “But the big thing, Linda,” she said, “is that through this year, week after week, I have felt God’s love as never before.  For me.  Personally. Particularly. Powerfully.  For the first time in my life, I have felt completely, totally loved by God.  And when you know—really know—how much God loves you, it changes everything, you know.”

Oh yes, my sweet friend, it does.  It changes everything.  How I think about laundry and food shopping and even mammograms.  How you look at your husband and kids and even laundry.  More importantly, how you think about your past (yes, you’ve blown it, but because of Easter, you’re forgiven and given a fresh start), your future (He will be with you every step of the way no matter where that way leads)—and even your present, your today (He can give you His love for the unlovable, His strength for your weakness, His peace amidst your pain).  He said it in a sentence just before he left this earth: “Lo, I am with you always . . .” (Matthew 28:20)

His love changes everything.  And what more powerful reminder of His love than Easter?  It’s worth remembering—even, or maybe especially, on this Easter Monday.