Today may be my least favorite day of the year.
Here in Guatemala, Semana Santa (Holy Week) is pretty much finished after the crucifixion. Not entirely, of course, but there are few parades or sawdust carpets in the streets or even much emphasis on the resurrection of Jesus. Today is pretty tranquilo, it's low key. Not many folks are out. Stores are closed. And it's a reminder of what must have been the longest day for the followers of Jesus.
The gospels give us almost nothing of Saturday. All were told is that they rested. It was the Sabbath and Jesus was dead so no one could touch him and remain ceremonially clean. The man they thought would become their king had died and they woke up today soaked in that reality.
I have come to the conclusion that unbelief is the easy way out. Atheism or his less decisive cousin agnosticism doesn't have to struggle with much. When pressed with hard questions about God they either deny He exists or say, "I don't know". When confronted with the reality of Jesus, they simply say, God doesn't exist so Jesus can't be God. Therefore all his claims to deity were false. It's easy, clean, simple. I don't believe it therefore it does not exists therefore I don't have to deal with it.
But reality is a tricky fellow. I can deny reality all I want but eventually I either face it and deal with it or ignore it and am overwhelmed. There was a 9.0 earthquake in Japan. That's reality. People get cancer and it kills them. That's reality. Sweet, beautiful children die. Reality. There was a man named Jesus who said He was God and a bunch of Jews hated Him (a bunch loved Him) and the Roman's crucified Him. He died. Reality. He rose from that grave as an entirely new being: a resurrected person. And He walked around and ate and phased through walls and floated up into the sky saying that we need to tell the whole world about Him because He's comin' back.
See. Atheists have it easy. They just deny it. They don't believe and by their unbelief relieve themselves of any responsibility. Because once you know, that's it. You have to deal with it. Agnostics claim not to know. So they don't have to deal with it. Ignorance is bliss, right?
Is it blissful to remain ignorant of colon cancer? A heart defect? A man stalking your children? I sure want to know about those things. Why? So that I can deal with them and face them and live!
The Bible says that every person is dead with out Christ. Spiritual zombies. Walking around and shopping and pulling weeds and riding roller coasters but all dead and nasty on the inside. The question is: do you believe that?
Reality is that God determines what's real. People can ignore it or deny it or say with arrogant indifference, "I dunno", but reality doesn't change.
And when I accept that Jesus died and lay in that tomb on Saturday and walked out of it Sunday, I have a new reality to deal with. I have to face the consequences of that reality. And with that reality comes something really difficult: Questions.
"If God is good, then why _____.?"
"Why did my baby die?"
"Why is God silent?"
"Why did my marriage fail?"
"Why did so many people, children, babies die in (insert your favorite historical horror)?"
It's easier to say, "I don't know" or "There is no God so the answer is 's*** happens'".
If the tomb was empty, then I have a problem that only God can fix. If the tomb was empty than the whole wide beautiful world has a problem that only God can fix. And He's not real keen in the suggestion department when it comes to fixing what's broken. He does it His way and we either conform to His reality or stay broken.
I have a reality that my life is not my own. That I must decrease and Jesus must increase. I must die to myself and allow Christ to live through me. And part of me would rather not deal with it. It's easier to be lazy, lustful and proud. But that's not reality. It's a lie. Because it's not easier to be those things, is it? Because those things kill and I want to live. They destroy everything and a life that builds something good out of that which is broken.
I believe. And I'll face all that comes with that. Because the alternative is to look into that empty tomb and just turn and walk away. To look into the face of a man who says He's God and then proved it by what He did. To see glimpses of a life more abundant and joyful and real that I could ever imagine and simply say, "Oh, I don't know. I think I'm doing ok on my own."
Give me questions with no good answers, please. I'd rather live real life. And I'd rather start today.