Yesterday was Easter, the day evangelicals celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, our Savior, the way, the truth and the life. But it means more to me this year than in the past.
Because for me, Easter is now a mark of personal redemption.
Last March, my marriage was still in very real trouble. All my efforts with counseling and prayer barely seemed to touch the issues that so heavily weighed on my heart. I was actually losing ground rather than gaining, and I could feel the fingers of evil gripping so tight I could hardly breathe. As the saying goes, ‘it always gets worse before it gets better.’
During a time of study, I came across the scripture that says some things are only overcome with much prayer and fasting, (Matthew 17) and I felt compelled to do a 21 day fast over my marriage. I had never attempted anything more than 3 days, so I knew the serious nature of my decision.
And it was some of the hardest, darkest days of my life.
Yet, last Easter morning, I woke with the assurance that, because of my Savior, victory was finally within my grasp.
A light snow covered the ground as I stared out the window, barely able to see the backyard in the dark of the morning. I was worn out from a mighty 21-day battle, the hardest war I’d ever fought in my life. And yet, I felt the calm assurance in my heart that all would be well.
I had been obedient. I’d stood my ground. And it was finished.
My marriage wasn’t miraculously healed. It took many more months before restoration prevailed. But for me, this was the specific turning point, when I finally began to see prayers answered and evil receding.
God raised his Son from the grave so my sins could be forgiven and I could reign with Him in Heaven. Yet Easter will forever mean more to me than simply salvation from sin.
Last year, God raised my marriage from death and brought it back to life. Because Jesus didn’t just die to save us from hell – He died to free us from bondage and pull us out of the pit.
My favorite Easter song used to be “Old Rugged Cross”, but this year, a different hymn from my childhood has captured my heart.
“Because He lives, I can face tomorrow
Because He lives, all fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future
And live is worth living just because He lives.”