Monday, April 18, 2011


A room lovingly prepared for a precious arrival,
Arms that encircled a perfect little frame,
A lap that cradled a quiet, thumb-sucking snuggler,
And hands that reassuringly clung to chubby fingers.
For now, are empty.

A closet that contained dreamy dresses and bright pink boots,
Shelves that stored treasured reads like Dora’s Bedtime Stories,
And drawers that housed ruffled socks and the mini-est of mini-skirts.
For now, are empty.

A rocker that cushioned a weary mama who faithfully prayed,
And a bed that peacefully nestled a busy girl after a full day of play.
For now, are empty.

A car seat where two little arms rose to worship,
One that endured a tiny leg’s rhythmic kicking,
That sacred spot where a tired baby finally dissolved into blissful sleep time & again.
For now, is empty.

A chair reserved at a table previously set for five,
A fuzzy, mismatched carpet square in a carefree Sunday school classroom,
A toddler-filled doll stroller lovingly pushed through the kitchen by motherly big sisters.
For now, are empty.

A hallowed place in every family portrait,
The third tier in a stair-step of pure joy.
For now, is empty.

A baby book meant to chronicle lost teeth and birthdays that never came,
And a memory book meant to pass stories, traditions, and wisdom through generations.
For now, are empty.

A basket at the Easter egg hunt with cousins,
An orange plastic pumpkin for Halloween’s trick-or-treat,
A monogrammed stocking wistfully hung on the mantle,
And mailboxes that should contain the Christmas card we can’t bring ourselves to send.
For now, are empty.

An “X” that marks the spot where a miniature ballerina would have danced,
A desk where a kindergartener would have found her name and stored her crayons,
A fold-up chair at some imaginary graduation,
And a pew where the mother of the bride would have shed a different kind of tears.
In this life, are empty.


The tomb,
A cold stone cave where God in the flesh once lay buried,
Formerly a place of deep disillusionment and utter despair.

An empty tomb.

Oh, glorious empty tomb!

Now destroying the curse which bound all men,
Now commanding power over death,
Now shouting hope to an empty world!

Filling arms, hands, and laps.
Filling rockers and beds.
Filling the dinner table and the back seat of the van.
Filling pictures, stockings, and pews.
Fulfilling future dreams.

Promising to restore it all.
Promising to leave only one more thing empty.

In the twinkling of an eye…

A grave.
A modest little grave bathed in tears,
Formerly a place of deep disillusionment and utter despair.

A grave that has been patiently and confidently waiting,
Will someday be victoriously empty.

Hallelujah!   He is risen!

Many of you may be sad or lonely or depressed. "How can I celebrate Easter?" you wonder. You're stressed out. Your life is unpredictable. You are suffering. You are grieving. You are disappointed. You are afraid. I get it! This is the battle I face in my own heart and mind constantly. We live in the real world, and things can easily sway us from the truth we profess. I had my cry this morning. Happens every so often. But...take heart! For Christians, Easter is simply the happiest day of the year.  I pray you will feel it in the tips of your toes--no matter what. Let us not be dismayed. Let us not look at our circumstances or even at our own lifetimes. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus.

Last week, Mary Claire, looking rather dejected, said to me, "Mom, why hasn't Jesus come back yet? I can bet you He won't be here by Sunday." How honest! She feels like she has been waiting for Him forever! Don't you? But, I told her that we mustn't give up on Him! Until He comes, He has placed us here with great purpose. Every day He delays is another day for people who do not yet trust Him to come to Him and follow. God will not be slow to keep His promise. And, no matter how long we wait, we can be confident that the Jesus who conquered the grave WILL come again!

As you go through this week, no matter your circumstances, will you join me in preparing your heart for worship?  Take some time each day to read your Bible and imagine yourself walking along with Jesus in His last week here on earth.  Then, when you wake on Sunday, I pray you will grasp the VICTORY in which you now stand in Christ Jesus--victory over death itself!

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.  He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.  Matthew 28:5-6a

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. 2 Peter 3:8-10

Jesus said, “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life...Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear my voice and come out..." John 5:24, 28

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.  After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.  Therefore encourage one another with these words. 
1 Thessalonians 4:16-18

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.  He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:3-4

Happy Easter, brothers and sisters!  Because of the empty tomb, we have confident hope!


Jody said...

Sarah~ I am so thankful that our lives and stories have connected online through the wonder of the blogworld. I will be praying for you and trusting God to make a WAY that far exceeds that which you could have ever made on your own. I look forward to meeting- whether on this earth or in Heaven. My best to you and your family. May God be glorified- even in grief. xoxo

VickyBliss said...

Sarah, your courage, grace and messages of hope have touched more people than you can know.

As a member of Hyde Park (and long time Christian), I confess to a lifetime of puzzlement over the "gift of faith". What was that? "You have it or you don't," I thought.

Seeing you week to week, hearing your testimony and observing your sweet spirit has taught me what that gift truly means.

Love and Peace this Easter Season
Dana Ryberg Jefferson