The joy of Easter Sunday takes its full force from Good Friday—the day Christ was crucified, because without Good Friday, Easter Sunday will not be as powerful an event in history as it is today in our lives as Christians. Death does not have the last word; life does.
Life is full of ups and downs, sorrows and joys, adversity and prosperity. As Carl Jung, a prominent psychologist, once observed; “Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness and the word ‘happy’ would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by word, ‘sadness’.” Just like a bed of roses, there are thorns as well as color and beauty. Truth be told, if we did not sometimes taste adversity in life, prosperity would not be so welcome.
This symbiosis between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, teaches us, not how to avoid struggles in life but how to deal with them. Many a time, we attempt to deal with suffering with an attitude of apathy—a defeated acceptance of tribulations in life under the assumption that it is God’s will. This kind of outlook only guarantees more defeat because it kills initiative and creativity, defeats hope and the grace of prayer. It denies one the hope of becoming and “overcomer” under the grace of God. It was not the spirit of apathy that got Christ through the crucifixion and unto the resurrection. It was faith in God that did.
We sometimes also may see hardships as situations to be bulldozed over with defiance; with human power, money and influential connections. Such a mindset does not see any “teachable moment” in human tribulations. “It is not by power and might” as Scripture says, “but by the Spirit of the Lord. Adversity, many a time is a forerunner to prosperity. The experience of tribulation has been known to strengthen the soul, clear up vision, inspire ambition, and lead to greater success.
There is also the temptation to develop an attitude of self-pity in the face of difficult situations. But here is what Scripture says, “No adversity has come to you that is not common to the human race”. All through His journey to the Cross, self-pity was not an option for Christ. An attitude of self-pity drains out the power to overcome, inhibits effort and imagination, stifles hope, compromises initiative, while letting despair, hopelessness, and helplessness run wild.
What the resurrection of Christ teaches us is that, in the face of suffering and tribulations, we need to assure ourselves that God’s hand will never cause His child a needless tear. Believing this, what we need the to do is to “Settle our situation in our hearts”. The word “settle” comes from the Greek word “tithemi,” which means, to “set” or “put” something in its place. To settle something in the heart is to have an unshakable confidence in God; to deposit it with God and not let even the total collapse of the entire cosmos interfere with it. As Scripture says: “God is faithful and with every temptation, will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13). We need to believe, in the face of tribulation, that God is preparing a window of escape, His faithfulness will have the last word as it had if for Jesus Christ. He is the “Ancient of Days”—He has done it before, is doing it now, and will do it again.