Easter brings promise of new and everlasting life with the Father
Why do bad things happen to good people, we ask? Some have even turned away from God, believing God has turned his back on us by allowing bad things to happen.
We like to believe if we are reasonably good and stay on God's good side, we should be protected from any evil that lurks in the dark places in our lives. Right?
So why do bad things happen to good people?
Jesus wasn't exempt. We see what happens to him on Good Friday. If such bad things could happen to the Son of God, why should we be exempt? Why should we expect that bad things wouldn't – shouldn't - happen to us or those we love?
The celebration of Easter teaches us that, as Jesus showed us, we don't run away from the bad things that can happen in life but rather move through them with grace, dignity and an appreciation that, in the end, on the day of our own resurrection from the dead, the heartbreaks, pain and suffering and disappointments in life will be forgotten, overwhelmed by the incredible joy of life eternal.
Shaking off the solemn notes of Lent, we look forward to the chocolate bunnies, jelly beans, new clothes and family gatherings with an abundance of good food and drink. But, do we fully embrace the significance of the resurrection and what it means to our lives?
Jesus came into the world in the quiet of a quiet, starry night. He silently endured the bad things that were done to him on Calvary. Then he rose from the dead in the pre-dawn hours of that first Easter morn. No big fanfare, just a hint a glorious sunrise and perhaps a scattering of wildlife to greet him. Subtle? Yes. Understated? You bet!
But does that answer our question? Why do bad things happen to good people?
When we live life to the fullest - when we take in the best it has to offer - we're also required to face the many trials and tribulations that come with it. That's what Jesus did. He was never hesitant to do and say what was right. Was he afraid? Darn right he was, but he pushed through. He did not allow himself to become paralyzed with fear in the moment.
Evangelist and writer Josh McDowell once wrote, "No matter how devastating our struggles, disappointments, and troubles are, they are only temporary. No matter what happens to you, no matter the depth of tragedy or pain you face, no matter how death stalks you and your loved ones, the Resurrection promises you a future of immeasurable good."
This side of the grave, I'm not sure we'll ever know the answer to why bad things happen. But we do know it's inevitable, just as Jesus' passion and death was inevitable. But Jesus shows us what we need to do in the face of adversity. We pick ourselves up, keep our eyes on the goal and, like Jesus, we hold on to our faith in the Father's unending love.
The time for joyous celebration is today. As the Son rises, we rejoice in the dawn of the very real promise of new, eternal and everlasting life with our Creator.
So, if you're so inclined this Easter, step outside moments before dawn and listen for the voice of God in the unspeakably beautiful silence. We're never alone. Listen and you might hear God whispering, "Arise my beloved, my beautiful one, and come! For see, the winter is past, and the rains are over and gone." (Song 2:10-12).
Debbie Bosak is the editor and general manager of Northwest Indiana Catholic Publications and a member of Ss. Peter and Paul Parish in Merrillville. Email her at dcgary.org.