Whatever our cross, no matter how battered we are by life, have peace. He has conquered the world.
I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.—John 16:33 My love lifts up his voice. He says to me, “Come then, my beloved, my lovely one, come. For see, winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers are appearing on the earth. The season of glad songs has come; the cooing of the turtledove is heard in our land.—Songs 2:10-12
I hope these words cause your heart to thrill today. I hope that you’ve spent the past three days longing and mourning and regretting, that you stayed awake with him on Thursday, suffered with him on Friday, searched for him on Saturday and rose with him last night. I hope that you lived the mystery of his betrayal, passion and death so that today’s resurrection has shot joy through your otherwise mundane life.
He has conquered the world.
Oh, we will have trouble. No matter how loudly we sing our alleluias, there will still be an election this fall. Bills will still pile up. Loved ones will still disappoint and betray. People will judge us for our faith. They may maim and kill us.
But take courage. He has conquered the world.
We will sin and fall short. Our perfectly laid plans will come crashing down because of our weakness. Our lives will go terribly wrong.
Have peace. He has conquered the world.
If the message of Good Friday is one of love and mercy, the message of Easter Sunday is one of victory, the promise that love always wins. Love doesn’t always prevent suffering, but your suffering is not the end of your story. Not even your death is.
Because if you are a lover of this God who has conquered the world, whatever you have suffered, you will hear him call to you on the last day, “Come, then, my beloved, my lovely one, come.” And the rains of winter will have wrought a beautiful spring as you walk out of the suffering of this life, the troubles that have weighed you down for 30 or 60 or 100 years, into Easter joy eternally.
Today’s feast reminds us that whatever our cross, however merciless our scourging, God will triumph. The victory has been won. We don’t have to be overcome by fear or anxiety or doubt or regret because we are an Easter people. We live in the joy of what has been done because we live for the joy of what is to come.
There are times, in this valley of tears, when it seems too much. But when my heart is broken or the world seems lost, I refuse to be overcome. I stand looking at the suffering I can’t bear and whisper to myself, “He has conquered the world.”
Perhaps it’s all a little too “pie in the sky” to trudge through sorrow with my eyes on eternity. But I think this is one of the great differences between life lived with Christ and life without. When Jesus is Lord of your life, you live in the promise of joy, a joy that obliterates trouble. It doesn’t mean life isn’t hard, it just means the difficulties have meaning and won’t last forever.
Today, we have a foretaste of this joy. Let’s cling to this so that in moments of anguish we can recall: he has conquered the world. And one day he will call me to come to him and enter into his joy. Alleluia! He is risen! And that triumph changes everything.
Meg Hunter-Kilmerwrites for her blog, “Held by His Pierced Hands,” and travels around the country speaking to youth and adults, leading retreats and parish missions.