“If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.
And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith”
(1 Corinthians 15:13-14 NIV).
“Good luck! And, by the way, there’s no such thing as luck.”
This was the parting comment a Christian friend made to us as he prepared to climb into his van and return home from the Sunday morning service. We knew what he meant. It was his way of encouraging us to remember that our lives aren’t guided by blind chance. We have an almighty Lord Who is at our side every moment, Who controls all events in the lives of His believers for their good.
Someone might ask, “What’s the guarantee of this?” A good answer (short but sweet) is, “EASTER!” We celebrate Easter with gusto and a multitude of hallelujahs because we know it is our heavenly Father’s assurance that the One Who died on the cross, Whose body was laid in the grave, also arose triumphantly. He is now orchestrating all happenings in the world at large and in our personal lives so they help us to attain a blessed end.
What would your life be like if the angel’s message, “He is not here, He is risen!” were a fairy tale? Then everything you believe about Jesus would be a mirage. The wall of sin that separated you from your God would still be there. Death would be pursuing you as an invincible foe. Your hope of heaven would be a delusion. The devil would have reason to celebrate, for it would mean he had scuttled Jesus’ mission as mankind’s Savior . . . IF the events of Easter didn’t happen.
But, thanks be to God, they DID happen! The crucified Savior came alive! With His rising from the tomb, the death-stinger has been plucked from our human “skin” and its poison neutralized. Through faith in the resurrected Jesus, we’ve become God’s redeemed, restored, forgiven children, heirs of life everlasting.
Think now what this means for your walk of life in this trouble-filled world. Are you suffering from a debilitating health problem? You may be sure it didn’t happen as a
stroke of bad luck. Your Savior allowed it for a loving
reason. He will strengthen you to bear the cross of physical pain (read Isaiah 41:10). Are you unemployed and struggling to make ends meet? You know that it did not result from bad karma. Your Savior allowed it for a beneficial purpose. He will provide what you need, as you look to Him in faith (read Proverbs 3:5-6). Have you suffered the loss of a loved one? It was no tragic twist of fate. Jesus called your dear one to Himself. He will now apply the comfort of His Gospel to your hurting heart (read 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14). Do you see others living a seemingly carefree life as you go from one stress-filled moment to another? It’s not that some are born under a lucky star while others are jinxed. The Lord allows tribulations to occur in the lives of His own in order to test their faith and strengthen it. It is a loving reminder that you’re living in a world that has an expiration date. Your permanent home is in heaven. Keep striving toward the blessed goal! (Read 1 Peter 1:7 and Hebrews 13:14.)
All these things are most certainly true just because
we have a Savior Who lived, died, and is alive forever,
Who is at our side continually and is guiding everything for our benefit. We’re not lucky people. We’re blessed people, people who may sing with gusto through each season of life,
Hallelujah! Jesus lives!
He is now the Living One;
From the gloomy house of death
Forth the Conqueror has gone,
Bright Forerunner to the skies
Of His people, yet to rise.
Jesus lives! Why weepest thou?
Why that sad and frequent sigh?
He who died our Brother here
Lives our Brother still on high,
Lives forever to bestow
Blessings on His Church below.
(The Lutheran Hymnal, 188:1,3)
Thomas Schuetze is pastor of St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church in Lakewood, Colorado.