We sat on the soft couch in the early spring sunshine, huddled around a storybook Bible for kids.
“How could he?” she cried. Our five year old was hearing, really hearing for the first time, that God looked away from Jesus for a moment while He was on the cross.
“His own son! How could He look away from His own son?” Her bottom lip quivered and her brow sunk low. I could see tears forming behind her glasses. “Why, Mama, why did He do that?” She covered her face.
I put my arm around her. “It is very sad, isn’t it?” I said. I tried to explain how Jesus took our sin on Him, and that God couldn’t look at sin, so He had to look away. “But why did He do that?” she wailed.
She wasn’t asking for the theological explanation.
She was asking why it had to happen like this – why even the Father left Jesus utterly alone.
At our house, Easter always brings out the toughest questions about why Jesus had to die and how He could take away all of our sins. It’s this strange mix of egg hunts and execution, bunnies and burial cloths. And then, the great exhale of wonderful relief when we learn that Jesus, who was once dead, has come back to life again.
We live in this tension between Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
We suffer the fallen nature of the world and the effects of sin while we await the glorious fulfillment of His promise of eternal life.
In the between time, we work to stay faithful to Him and build His kingdom in a world with a kingdom of its own, the kind that shouts you are a dangerous fool if you believe in anything other than the tangible and material, if you stand for something other than yourself, if you entrust your life to Someone instead of your emotions and feelings.
“In this world you will have trouble – but take heart, I have overcome the world!” – Jesus (John 16)
Jesus, as we remember Your sacrifice and victory this Easter weekend, let us be strengthened by the Holy Spirit to worship You in the face of doubt and questions. Let those questions and struggles remind us that while we don’t know everything, You do. And that is precisely why we bow in worship -You are God, Your love is unchanging, and You will never forsake us.