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The Real Easter Story

She was shaking from the inside out. Silent tears turned into loud sobs when the truth came out.

Through tears, she kept saying she didn’t have a choice. How she didn’t have any money or support or hope for her future. About how she was all alone. She’d talked herself into doing what was “right”, not knowing it could ever feel this wrong.

And now she can’t sleep at night. She can’t eat during the day. She’s numb on the outside, yet ravaged with pain on the inside. She says nothing is normal anymore. “This one thing has changed everything” and now she’ll “never be the same.”

I reached out for folded hands and asked to pray. But she says not to waste good prayers on bad people. I squeeze those hands tighter and step in closer, hoping connection cancels out conviction, as she continues to tell me that her sin is too great and unforgivable.

Sometimes the greatest lies ever told are the ones we tell ourselves.

It’s Easter week and it’s whole meaning is sitting right in front of me in human form. Skin and bones, naked, beaten-down and broken. Bleeding on her own cross.

We trick ourselves into believing that the Resurrection Story has something to do with Easter bunnies and painted eggs. Too often, we skip over the suffering part. The pain part. The sin part of a fallen world. We are quick to jump past the cross and into an empty grave to celebrate the resurrected king, who defeated death and rose again.

But here she is. She is the cross-carrying part. The heavy-weight-of-splintered-wood-on-her-shoulders part. The too-heavy-to-carry-alone part.

She is the reminder to me that Good Friday was not good. And that Sunday has not yet come. She is like so many of us in this season–stuck in the in between death on the cross and heaven in holy human form returning. We are waiting. Wondering. Questioning. Doubting. Because we still don’t really know if what He said was true. If His promises were real. If His hope would really hold.

Her eyes were closed and her head was bowed. And with no prompting she cried out quietly, “Jesus, forgive me.”

And He did. Just like the thief next to Him on the tree. Just as he forgives you and me.

Outside my kitchen window, I can see the way the trees are waking up—gently swaying in the morning breeze. A pattern of pines overlap and in the distance I can see a cross. And I think of her. The resurrection story then is every bit the resurrection story now. The cross is heavy, but take heart, my friends. Sunday is coming.

There is One who makes all things new. We are Easter people and this is the real Easter Story.

This one thing has changed everything and now we will never be the same.

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