I find it terribly easy, as I go about my day-to-day life, to forget that this current existence is not all there is. This isn’t a forgetfulness of belief—at the cognitive level I am fully aware of the reality that there is more than my eyes can see. It is a forgetfulness of what I suppose could be called practical belief. I can speak passionately about the implications of the resurrection and the hope of all that’s to come, and yet, in the moment, my instinctual reactions are not always fitting for someone who believes these things to be true.
This is why I come back year after year in this Easter season to meditate on the implications of the Resurrected Jesus. “Why does the resurrection matter?” I ask myself. But not merely at an academic, theological level—”Why does the resurrection matter in my day to day life?” Or in our case, “What does the resurrection say to my frontline?” It’s a worthy question, and I invite you to ponder it over these next few weeks. Prayerfully invite God to make clear to you how the resurrection speaks to your particular context, your particular relationships, in this particular season.
For today, I will offer you simply a few of my own thoughts.
Let me return to this idea of our practical belief. I believe part of the difficulty lies in the reality that we live in what many theologians have called “the already and the not yet.” We are already living in the Kingdom of God won and inaugurated by Jesus, but we also live in the “not yet,” where we wait for this Kingdom to come in its full, complete, and final form. We are resurrection people, but we still watch our bodies slowly decline with age. We are resurrection people, but we still die.
There is more to this than physical death, of course. We have been welcomed into a Kingdom that will ultimately bring an end to sin and suffering, in which all the broken pieces of this world will be restored. And yet we still live in a world marred by sin and suffering. We bear the effects of this in our own beings, in our relationships, and in our workplaces. We see it in our limitations and our mistakes, in the hurt we experience, and in those moments when work becomes more toil than delight. We see the “not yet” in justice left undone, in fractured relationships, and with every body we bury.
This is the world we live in. This is the world we work in, play in, and build community in. This is the only reality we have ever known, so it becomes oh-so easy to accept this reality as what is normal and what will continue to be normal.
But we are resurrection people. Our living, breathing, reigning Savior proves to us that this reality is not all there is, and His resurrected body is proof that it is not all that will be.
So, when we come face to face with the “not yet” reality on our frontline, the resurrection gives us new type of vision and a new type of hope. Every longing and every pain drive us deeper into the anticipation of what’s to come. They are also opportunities, though, for us to remain expectant for God to break into our “reality” with His new Kingdom reality. We hold out hope for people and hearts to change, against all odds. We keep space for miracles to occur in our midst. We freely offer forgiveness, even when it isn’t deserved. We work diligently, knowing that toil and delight can coexist. We fight against cynicism and despair with every word we speak and every action we take that is done in faith that there is an unseen Spirit bringing new life already in our midst.
Because of the resurrection, our frontlines become places we can expect God to work. They become opportunities to stand on tiptoe, waiting and ready to celebrate and embrace His Kingdom in our midst—and to keep our hearts in tune with all that’s still yet to come. Because of the resurrection, we can face the worst of days and the most impossible of situations with hope because we follow a resurrected and resurrecting God. Hallelujah.
Diana Gruver (MA, Gordon-Conwell) writes about discipleship and spiritual formation in the every day. She is the author of Companions in the Darkness: Seven Saints who Struggled with Depression and Doubt. You can find her online at www.dianagruver.com or on Facebook or Twitter. Diana originally published this work with the Vere Institute (Oct 2014 – May 2021), which was founded to empower Christians to integrate their faith into everyday life. The Vere Institute’s legacy lives on through our Vere Library.