Today is Easter Saturday, the day of 'waiting and mourning' in between Good Friday - when Jesus sacrificed Himself for us on the cross - and the glorious day in which He is risen on Earth!
Right now as I write that, I can't help but think that this is the very same place that I am in now. The grieving and mourning the loss of my baby Sebastian, and the waiting until we are reunited in the glories of Heaven one day. I am in my own Easter Saturday.
Back in the day, when Jesus died - and although Jesus did previously tell His disciples that they would see Him again (nothing like the resurrection had ever happened before - so they didn't know what He meant!) - the disciples did not live in the hope of His resurrection. They did not have the hope that they would see Jesus again.
That I do have. I have the hope and assurance that as long as I continue on the path of my God - as long as I continue to live for Him and have Christ dwelling within me - I WILL see Sebastian again. I know he is in Heaven, and I hope that I will be too. I have that hope.
I cannot imagine being able to get through life right now without that promise. I wonder how the disciples and Jesus' mother felt that Easter Saturday, without knowing they would see Him again. I wonder how grieving parents who don't know Jesus and the promise of Heaven, get through. I pray that they will come to know Christ before the day they die.
And really, it is as easy as that.
On the day that we remember as Good Friday, Jesus Christ was beaten, tortured, made to carry a very heavy cross through the streets of Jerusalem while being mocked, spat on and cursed at, and then nailed on that cross next to two common murderers and thieves. He knew He was going to have to endure this, and He did it. Because He knew it was the plan of the Father for the salvation of this world.
Then, His loving Father - God could not even stand to watch and turned away as His son died. God loved this world so much that He gave His Son for us, so that in the future we could live in the presence and love and grace of God, and one day be reunited with Him and our loved ones in Heaven - a place of beauty - forever.
God sacrificed His only son for the sake of the world. He loves us, He loves YOU... THAT MUCH.
But it does require a little from you too. You need to understand that, and you need to say Yes to Jesus. The moment when you realise that God did this FOR YOU, is one of the most humbling times in your life. When you just acknowledge that you are a sinner and you need Jesus. And you ask Him to come into your heart and reside there.
And that's it. That guarantees your entry into Heaven - and maybe that means being reunited with your baby or child or loved ones. And that's the hope if this world. The hope that helps me through this journey of grief.
I remember at various times while we were carrying and loving Sebastian, although we were told he would be leaving us too - thinking this this was somewhat what Jesus and God would have felt. Even God, the Father, who knew that Jesus' death was no permanent - could not look. Even God wept and grieved for the death of His son, whom He knew He would raise from the dead only days later.
I remember writing about Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane (which was just before Jesus was arrested) - asking the Father to take the cup of suffering from Him. Yet saying in the same breath, that His Will would be done. Asking for the miracle, but surrendering all to God for His ultimate plan. I remember saying the same thing. "God, please take this cup from us. Please don't let us lose our baby. Please heal him. But Lord, Your Will will be done in our lives and Sebastian's - and we trust you." We knew that if this was God's plan for our lives, and for Sebastian, that He would make good of it. That He had a perfect plan and that He would - and will continue to - see it through.
That's not easy to hold onto all the time. I still wonder how the things that have come since Sebastian's death are better than having him here in our arms. But God knows. And He knows what is to come.
I remember, in years previous, watching 'The Passion of the Christ' on Good Friday or over the Easter weekend. As a Christian, its a very confronting and emotional movie - seeing graphically what Jesus endured for the salvation of the world - for me. (and knowing that even if I was the only person in this world, He still would have done that for me!) But the part that always really impacted me, was when Jesus was carrying His cross in the streets of Jerusalem, his mother watching on. She has flashbacks to the times when Jesus was a child - and then in comparison having to watch her very son - her most loved possession in all the world - carry His cross to His death. I remember bawling my eyes out, just with the knowledge and love that I have as a mother to my children, and imagining what it would be like to know and watch your child die. And not being able to do anything or change it.
I have now lived that too. A mother should never have to see her child die - and although we weren't given that very moment with Sebastian because he died inside me, I still endured the same emotions of having my hopes and dreams for his life ripped from me.
I wonder how I will feel watching that movie now, since having experienced the same loss as Mary did. I don't think I will be able to watch those parts at all, it will tear me apart. The sacrifice of a mother as well.
And while Mary could not choose her sacrifice, Greg and I were given that opportunity to choose that sacrifice for our child. We were given the choice to give Sebastian as much life as we could - and we did. We allowed God to work in our lives - and gave Him the chance to heal Sebastian if that was in His will too. The sacrifice of having to go through more months of pain - carrying my child yet knowing he would probably not live - was an absolute blessing as a mother. It was what I could give to my son - the chance of life. And I wouldn't have it any other way.
So now as I look at Easter, I have a deeper understanding of just what it meant to God to do what He did. To know and to REALLY believe - through experience - the sacrifice He took and the love He has for mankind to do that. Given the very same situation now - the life of my child or the salvation of mankind - I don't know if I could choose to allow my son to die if I didn't have to. Could you?
What a loving God that shows. That He put the future and salvation of mankind ahead of His own Father's Heart.
But the truth is that God does love you as much as He loves Jesus. He made us all, and we are all children of God. He wants to be in relationship with each and every one of us - and He wants us to be with Him in the glories of Heaven, for Eternity when our time on this temporary place of existence is over. This life is not all there is - there is so so so much more to look forward to. But only for those who acknowledge God and Jesus in their life, and give their hearts to Him.
I wish you all over this Easter break, a fresh and real revelation of what Jesus did for all of us. And a blessed time with your families.
Enjoy your eggs, but remember the egg is the symbol of New Life - the Ressurection of Christ!