It’s now been two years of suffering through life with serious chronic illness. It’s made me appreciate, even more, the sweet and simple things in life. I find God in nature, so; as I do every Easter, I decided to wander down to the gorgeous Japanese magnolia tree. It stands next to a tiny white church, where every Sunday, its black congregation comes out dressed in its finest, and friendly people smile and wave when you drive by. I always yearn to visit sometime.
Each spring, the magnolia blooms come to life, with plump, majestic, pink flowers; creating a delicious secret canopy, reminding me of God’s great magnificence. I couldn’t wait to take it all in, and snap some beautiful photos. But when I arrived, I was shocked. To my chagrin, the entire tree had turned… brown. Dead magnolia blossoms took center stage. I felt sadness, remembering that just a few nights ago, we had an unexpected freeze. It had even snowed on April Fool’s Day, as I walked out of my doctor’s appointment.
What a shame, I thought, as I ventured closer. But to my delight, on the edges, I saw some pink flowers still proudly displaying their beauty. On closer inspection, I saw new buds appearing. Life! And then I thought, wow! This is how the women must have felt upon visiting Jesus’ empty tomb. There they were, somber and grieving, when suddenly an angel informed them that their Savior was no longer dead; he was ALIVE! “The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay’ ” (Matt. 28:5-6 NIV).
I looked closer at the bark of the tree. Among the dead blooms, there was even more new growth. More pink blossoms were on the way! This tree was tough and strong! It is the same for those of us who come to know and love Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. We are the living among the dead. More of us are being born out of death, and we blossom every day as we grow closer to God. As we become stronger, we share the Good News, bringing others to Heaven with us. “Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again” (John 3:3).
Suddenly, Instead of suffering, I felt… relief… and joy! The silver lining is my joy in knowing that no matter what happens to me on earth; some day, I’m headed to my eternal home in Heaven. I suffer with Jesus, to share in his sufferings for me when he died at the cross. But one day, I’ll forget my suffering, because I also share in his joys; both here on earth and up in Heaven. And, Heaven’s joys will outweigh all the suffering on earth. In Heaven, I’ll forget suffering, because all I will know is eternal joy and peace. “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed” (1 Pet. 4:12-13).
Will you join me in Heaven? I sure hope so! There is never a better time than right now, on Easter Sunday, to invite Jesus into your heart! I can’t wait to see you in the sky!
Angela Royse Pelleman is an author, blogger, and lover of Jesus, nature, children, and all things beautiful! She has been saved from depression, anxiety, abuse, and much more. She is currently battling chronic illness, but knows God has her back. Currently she sports pink hair, because she’s free in Jesus to be herself and have some fun! Join her in finding The Silver Lining at Angelaslittleattic.com. You can also find her at The Silver Lining Ministry Facebook page. Find godly help, support, and encouragement for the above mentioned topics and much more! More importantly, Follow Jesus! Happy Easter, and may God bless you all, in Jesus’ name!