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The Easter season is a season of hope. We remember that death does not have the final word and that God has a plan for our future.
We can celebrate amid adverse conditions because we know that no matter what the circumstance, God is in control. Hope is rising.

My recent surgery and recovery reminded me of these important truths.

I had planned a very hectic workload at the beginning of the year. I plan to take a sabbatical this summer, so I had a lot to do before June.

I also started a rigorous cross-training program of weightlifting and aerobic exercise. My January was packed with teaching and preaching and committee meetings.

Then my Achilles tendon snapped.

All my plans were put on the shelf. All my meetings were postponed or cancelled. My teaching and preaching was modified and rearranged.

I had to depend on others to do the work I normally did. I had to depend on my wife to do my errands and bring me my coffee and meals.

I had to sit around a lot and twiddle my thumbs between doctors’ visits and preaching on Sundays (from a chair). Life was rearranged very suddenly and very decisively.

I can say that I went through a cycle of emotions. I was in disbelief at first. This cannot be happening.

Then I was angry and upset, especially when I had to tell other pastors and church members that I could not attend their meetings or birthday parties or even make visits to the hospital.

I started to question why I had to go through this ordeal. I felt helpless and useless. I became discouraged and even depressed.

Finally, I just accepted my situation and began to pray more and fret less. I was able to study, plan my summer sabbatical and prepare my schedule for the spring calendar. Hope was rising.

If the above looks a lot like Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’ grieving process for those who are terminal or those who have suffered loss, then you are correct. I was amazed at how we work through these issues in our lives.

Certainly, a severed tendon is a lot less severe than someone with terminal cancer, but the emotional rollercoaster is no less real.

I have a new appreciation for others who have disabilities or who lose loved ones. There is a new empathy with my fellow strugglers.

I also have a new grasp of the importance of hope. Hope is the one ingredient that keeps the struggling moving forward. This too shall pass. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

“Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:21-23).

Easter reminds us that hope is always rising. Jesus rose from the grave and gives hope to all who trust in him.

We no longer need to despair because ultimately sin, death and evil are defeated foes. We have a hope that is eternal. We have a Savior who is Lord.

We have the Spirit who gives strength to go through life’s trials. We have a future with the God of love, compassion and faithfulness.

Hope is rising because he is risen!

GregoryMagruder is pastor of Parkview Baptist Church in Gainesville, Fla.

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