I struggle with depression. It’s taken me a few years, but finally acknowledging this beast makes moments of gnawing loneliness far easier to bear. I’m sure I am not alone in carrying a weight through life I so desperately wish to shed. Whether it’s internal or external, psychological or physical, we all experience pain and suffering capable of snuffing out any wisp of hope or joy we desire to feel.
Initially, this recurring depression grated against my belief in God, and what life with Him should look and feel like. If I’ve been redeemed and given new life with Christ, shouldn’t there be less pain and discomfort? Shouldn’t a loud, eternal joy echo in my chest now that I know my Maker? I held a belief that the resurrection He offers would immediately permeate my circumstances in the here and now. Yes, the new life He offers moves beneath, through, and above any circumstance, yet there are moments where temporal death and pain are overwhelmingly felt.
In wrestling with these seemingly incompatible ideas, I’ve found invigorating hope in a more nuanced understanding of resurrection; It is not a one-time occurrence. Yes, it begins in a singular moment and never ceases in an eternally redeeming sense, but that’s just the thing.
In this life, where death and pain are a part of our mottled, earthly existence, I believe resurrection can and must be a daily occurrence. I do not mean we have to continually re-establish our faith, but I do mean we must continually and repeatedly live into and among the life we’ve been given. We were not made to experience Jesus once, and count on that singular moment to be continually felt, even if it is always continually True. If a man were to get married, he could forget his wife and remain married, but would he feel married? It is the same with us and Jesus.
Imagine we are like a stained-glass window. Once dull and gray, in Jesus we receive new pieces bright and colorful, creating a vibrant pattern. In the care of the master craftsman, we are eternally safe, but not yet what we will be. As we live with Him, piece by piece we are turned over. The dark spaces are run through with color, and our jagged edges are not altogether removed but now purposefully placed, bringing order out of chaos. However, if we no longer let the light run through us, those beautiful spaces are left dull and gray, unused and oft forgotten. Though resurrection is at once secure and eternal, there is joy left untapped if we do not move and live in such a way as to continually experience resurrection.
For each of us then, the question is how? If Jesus is actively redeeming us and the world, then it must mean He is performing acts of grace and beauty around and in us whether or not we sense them. The wild and ranging beauty of Jesus is present in this world. It is a light unending, but a light often missed. Just as He has begun a resurrection that will never cease, we likewise can commit to seeking His beauty with childlike abandon. We know the things in life that bring us joy and a deeper awareness of who He is. We’ve felt the light run through us during meaningful conversations and moments of selfless giving to another. We’ve seen beautiful places and felt in awe of a God who did not just create, but did so in abundance and a complexity our own senses can hardly grasp. We have read scripture, and knew we were not just loved, but eternally sought after. We have put ourselves wholly into honest work, feeling purpose and creativity in our careers and passions. As we step into the life He puts before us, even if at times painful and confusing, we hear the answer to our unspoken longings. We are met in our hurt and disappointments, and all the more trained to seek the wild and extravagant nature of our living King. Go do what excites your heart. Be aware of how He made you, and where He is meeting you. I’ve wasted too much time waiting for Him to move, unaware of the never-ending Light already dancing around me. Resurrection is here, will you taste it?