“He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.” – Matthew 28:6
The Story Isn’t Over
I saw them in the halls, admired by our peers. I saw them in the lunchroom, carefree and cracking jokes. I saw them on the court, having the time of their lives playing the game they loved. And I could only watch from afar, trapped on the sideline, as the team I yearned to be part of enjoyed every minute of a successful basketball season.
In 2009, at the beginning of my freshman year of high school, I was diagnosed with an unruptured brain aneurysm. Although my doctors stabilized the aneurysm, they ordered me to avoid increasing my heart rate, as doing so would also increase the chances that my aneurysm would rupture. I had trained hard all summer with the goal of making my freshman team, but that dream was dashed by my physical activity restriction. I was once vibrant and strong, but my muscles atrophied and my endurance faded. I felt like a piece of the world was shut off to me, a prisoner of my own body. That year was marred by fear and grief.
In the hours after Jesus’ death on the cross, the lives of His followers had been consumed by terror and despair. His followers had just lost the One they left everything for. Without the One that held them together, they were disorganized and scattered. All of His followers mourned, but many also fled from the authorities because they knew they too could be targeted.
Yet little did they know that Christ’s story wasn’t over. On the third day after Christ’s death, some women trekked to the tomb. What they found would change the world forever. The stone was rolled away and an angel from heaven relayed the good news: “He is not here, for he has risen.”
The women ran from the tomb with great joy, eager to tell the other disciples. They had just been part of the most glorious event ever to occur on Earth. The terror and despair in the hours before was nothing but a distant memory, an afterthought in Christ’s joyous return.
In the same way, my story wasn’t over in 2009. In August 2015, after I received an aneurysm-healing surgery, my activity restriction was lifted and I once again experienced the joy of running up and down a basketball court. The weight I had carried the previous six years was nowhere to be found.
Now, because I know how the story of my health history ends, I reflect on it with gladness and thanksgiving because of what God did for me. And Christians look to Jesus’ death not with terror and despair but as the glorious payment for our sins, because we too know the whole story of Christ’s death. Though there is pain in this world, it is never the end of the story. If you are struggling or hurting or feel as if the burden is too great to bear, cling to Christ. Your story is not over either.
– Kevin Mercer
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