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Easter and Grief

I can confidently say I've never fully grasped the power of Easter until this year.

I honestly still had doubts. In my innermost heart, I wondered if I ever lost someone dear that I might not find comfort in the thought that they were in Heaven.  Did I really believe in paradise that Jesus promised to the thief hanging next to him on the cross?

Sadly, I learned in the most painful way possible what I believe. Like so many lessons in life, I wish I had learned this particular belief without the accompanying experience.  I want patience without waiting.  I want love without vulnerability. I want wisdom without experience. I want appreciation without  loss.

My doubts are gone, and I know what I believe about that paradise. I know with all my heart where our beloved brother, Caleb, is today. He was only 36 , with a fiance and four young children, when we lost him five months ago. He loved with all his heart, including his love for his Savior. But I am still selfish. I want my brother back. I want him to be the one to raise his four kids. I want him to spend a lifetime with the love of his life.

I think it is OK to appreciate where he is, and still weep.  Jesus wept.  Jesus wept when Lazarus was in the grave, even with the full knowledge he could call him back. If Jesus wept over loss, I can too.

 But when I truly acknowledge where he is, I couldn't wish him back to this world of pain.
My brother was an artist when it came to wood and carpentry.  He was always up for learning something new, even starting sometimes before he fully learned it! He rushed into new fun projects with an excitement that was contagious.

How my heart aches with joy that Caleb is spending eternity with Jesus the Carpenter.

 He is waiting for us now, and I have never felt the joy of the Easter deeper than this year. Praise you Lord. Praise you for your defeat of death.  Thank you for this beautiful & painful salvation.

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