“You see, there are two very different types of hope in this world. One is hoping for something, and the other is hoping in Someone.” ~ Pete Wilson
How can we celebrate Easter when we are overwhelmed with everyday questions?
I didn’t see it coming. I went to bed like I always had, ate dinner with my chopsticks and brushed my teeth just fine.
The next morning, I got dressed and drove into work as usual. Logged into my account and started checking my emails. I started typing.
Needles of pain shot through my wrists. My fingers felt numb and tingly, like they’d fallen asleep. Confused, I tried to mouse and click around. My forearm started hurting even more.
My fingers refused to hit another keystroke.
Two hours later, I found myself sitting in front of a doctor who specialized in treating work related injuries.
“You won’t be going back to work for a while. You have RSI (Repetitive Stress Injury). Might be carpel tunnel syndrome. We won’t know yet, until you get some therapy.”
How long will I be out? I asked, thinking a day or two.
When it all was said and done, combining full and partial disability, my road to recovery took nearly three years.
Getting Better Or Getting Worse?
When I first started physical therapy, I was very optimistic. I was determined to heal fast. Take my meds, get my therapy, do my exercises and wear my wrist braces.
The problem was healing isn’t a linear process.
I was progressively hurting more week after week. My pain extended to my upper arms, my shoulders, neck and even my back. Was I just falling apart?
My physical therapist Tom educated me.
You’re actually getting better, even if it feels like you’re getting worse.
Tom drew a swirl of concentric circles on his note pad.
He said that healing is like peeling an onion. He said that I had ignored the fatigue initially in my muscles so well, that it caused my body to compensate in other areas.
Pain, Tom explained, was a healthy indicator that my body was finally speaking to me.
My path to recovery was to swirl out first — to understand exactly how far my injury went. Tom gently pointed out that as one muscle group got better, I would start feeling the pain in other areas that had been masked on top of the other.
I have found myself in the same condition for many Easters.
I wanted so badly to celebrate the joy of Easter Sunday resurrection, I ignored the layers of stress and unanswered questions from my everyday life.
Don’t get me wrong, I was filled with joy for Jesus on Easter Sunday, in praise and thankfulness for the sacrifice and love He poured out for me on Good Friday 2000 years ago. I am always brought to tears meditating on the suffering our Lord endured emotionally, physically and spiritually by taking up the cross. But, I was often heart heavy waiting to taste the power of resurrection in some difficult circumstances.
It seemed whenever I thought of Easter, I thought only of Easter Sunday — the celebration of resurrected life — or Good Friday — the death Christ suffered on the cross. I never thought as pastor and author Pete Wilson points out in Plan B, of the Saturday in between:
“Saturday… It seems like a day when nothing is happening. It’s a day of questioning, doubting, wondering and definitely waiting…helplessness or hopelessness.
Is it possible that Saturday is actually a day of preparation?
… Saturday was the day God was engineering a resurrection.”
My One Thing
This year, I’m celebrating Easter Sunday with a lot of my story resurrected from my “Saturday” life. Not in a way where everything has worked out. A lot of the questions I’ve been asking for a very long time haven’t been answered. In fact, some of the problems I’ve asked God to solve haven’t gotten better. But, I have learned one thing through my time in this extended season of waiting.
That one thing is this: Jesus’ love continues to be one thing I can always say yes to.
In lieu of answers and resolution, I had to continually make a choice. Do I let my pain and hurt shape my faith — or do I take my faith and run into the arms of Jesus?
This has been my greatest joy: I have been able to choose love — because Love chose me.
I’ve been able to find when I couldn’t possibly wait any longer in dissonance and lack of closure — the love of Jesus continues to heal me, carry me and attract me to Him. I can continue choosing to love God, love others, and pour myself out, even in weakness and imperfection.
All because Jesus loves me. Because of the cross.
I had given up hope of ever getting better.
Then I got up one day, not feeling any pain. It left me, just as it came. Suddenly.
It took me many years to get to that one morning. I will always remember who got me through it.
It wasn’t hope in recovery. It was hope in Jesus.
I don’t know how long our Saturdays will last. But one thing I do know, Jesus has walked that Saturday into eternity for us. His love will never leave us and His love will get us through to our Easter Sundays.
“The God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”
~ 1 Peter 5:10
What does Easter mean to you this year?
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*Today’s post is part of a new April series — Discovering New Joy. Check out our topic for today and next week’s new topic!
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Share what Easter means to you this year.
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It’s good to think of Saturday as a day of preparation. This makes Sunday mean so much more! Thanks for sharing this. Blessings!
Happy Easter, Renee Ann!
The waiting, the Saturday, has meaning too. You are so right. Thank you for these lovely thoughts. Happy Easter!
None of it is vain. Blessings, Courtney!
Oh I love these thoughts about the waiting has meaning. I am in progress of changing jobs. My two weeks have been turned in and I start May 2. Yet these two weeks are hard. I am saying goodbye to people I have loved and been friends with for twelve years and children I have loved.
Jesus understands hard and He loves us through hard. Thanks for sharing your “Saturday”, Katie.
[…] more thoughts on Easter, read Bonnie Gray’s post: Sometimes it gets worse before it gets better. Share and […]
This post gets to the heart of what Christianity is all about for me. For years I thought it was all about defeating sin at the cross, but in reality, it’s about being restored to new life because of the resurrection. I used to stop at Friday, but when it comes to my day to day life, I need the hope and power that Sunday offers.
Thanks for fleshing out the uncertainty of Saturday. I hadn’t thought of that angle of the story before.
I loved how you phrased it, Ed. We are moving through to resurrection and we need “the hope and power that Sunday offers”.
I agree. When we think of Easter, we tend to think of Good Friday and Easter Sunday, while overlooking the Saturday. And I completely agree about how this applies to our everyday lives. As my faith has developed over these past few years of “Saturday,” I’ve learned to look toward Him always. Now that we have a new “Saturday” situation, I’m finding that I have a peace that can’t be explained without God. I know that He will heal me, whether in this life or in the next, and I know I can trust Him to walk with me until then. So whatever happens, it’s okay.
This was so touching, Melissa. Thank you for adding your voice to this testimony of “Saturday” and the faithfulness of Jesus you are putting your trust in.
My favorite line here:
“This has been my greatest joy: I have been able to choose love — because Love chose me.”
Even on Saturdays…
Oh yes. The Saturdays of life. How often I think we feel those and how discouraging they can be. But we can choose to seek joy because we know how it ends.
Love that thought, Amy! So encouraging.
I have been in the deepest pain of my life recently — i didnt think I would make it. But the resurrected Christ is what keep pushing me, pulling me through.
I’m glad for Saturday.
David! I didn’t know. Thank you for sharing this. I cannot imagine how difficult it feels now. Our Saturdays will not be for nothing. It won’t be our end.
I like the thought about the Saturday in between! What does Easter mean to me this year? I was just thinking about Easter last night. I just watched The Passion of the Christ for the first time this week and I have to say my emotions have been crazy since! Easter seems so much more personal to me this year. Maybe its because I can see where God has worked in my life the past 3 + years and brought me out of my Saturday as well and I now have hope in Him! As I think of the beating he took, then stretched out and nailed on that cross for me! Its just too much to wrap my head around. I think that everything he endured on his journey to the cross was him taking in each and every one of my sins. I am thankful and grateful beyond words when I think of that! For me?!
Lisa, this is beautiful!
Wow. This was beautiful. So touching. Believe it or not, I was thinking, Sat. is such a silent day when God was at work though, behind the scenes, where no one could see, Jesus was doing something when he went down to the pit of the earth-to hell itself-then came Sunday-Glorious day! Silence and waiting, hoping on God. That’s me right now as I keep fighting a stronghold and waiting for the Lord to come rescue me transform me and change me in His love because I can’t change myself. I am helpless without him.
i love thinking about easter this way. thanks for sharing!
Thank you so much! I love your look at Saturday, the often forgotten day in my book. Yet so many many things took place that day that we didn’t know about.
Things that impacted us more than we realize.
After reading it I feel somewhat like I’m in a Saturday!
Again thank you!
This is soooo good!! I don’t know that I’ve ever heard anyone point out the importance and significance of the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter! I am so blessed by what you shared here–thank you so much!!
“This year, I’m celebrating Easter Sunday with a lot of my story resurrected from my “Saturday” life. ” Hey, that sounds…exciting!
About the pain being a healthy indicator—yeah, I think pain killers can do more harm than good. When I’m numb to the pain, I’m numb to everything else.
God bless you, Bonnie.
This was exactly what I told a young couple whose son at 6 months old lie in a hospital bed and had been there for three months with uncontrollable seizures. I told them expect it to get worse before it gets better after we pray cause the enemy does not give up that easily. Sure enough he had 300 seizures in one day. The doctors said he would not walk, talk, see and possibly hear. I prayed Psalm 91 over him, we kept our bible open there and prayed every day for him, after three days of this he started to get better and better and finally he went home…..guess what day they released him……..Easter Sunday. God is faithful.
Here is a link to the entire story on YouTube.
This post resonates deep to my spirit – because this time of year is very tough for me as well, and it has been since I was 18 years old. However, this is the first year I am really addressing a huge hurdle in my heart. I blogged about it today not just in today’s Jam, but also in a separate post.
Thank you for opening this today, Bonnie – sharing your pain and revealing God’s glory in all of it.
Bless you for sharing your heart, as this spoke so deeply to me and God knew it’s exactly the inspiration I needed. I have been suffering physically for the last year and wondering, “will it ever go away”?? I can relate to the extended season of waiting and as you’ve shared that even when it seems impossible to trust…. “That one thing is this: Jesus’ love continued to be one thing I could always say yes to.
I so appreciate the thoughts around the silent Saturday when we think nothing is happening but, behind the scenes our amazing God is working out every detail of our lives, a perfect tapestry that’s especially designed by Him! I know that God is preparing me for something greater and one day, “suddenly” this physical illness will be gone, just like it came on “suddenly” and I will speak of His amazing grace and wonderful love that carried me through it all.
Also, I love that you quote Pete Wilson. From the communicative I’ve had with him, he is a great guy – the wisdom he shares is just so true, relevant and fresh and I just truly appreciate him and all he does. I have yet to get a copy of Plan B, but I will be getting one soon – as I keep hearing it is just a fantastic read and a great tool to open up so many doors of healing.
Finally! I get to participate in another Jam. 😉
Bonnie, What a reminder that the silence of the second day was a bridge to the blessed hope we have to life! I am challenged to bow and prepare for clouds to be rolled back.
I always say that I always say this. But BONNIE!!! The words the Lord gives you to share are so uplifting. Thank you so much for being faithful to your call. You make it look effortless!
Yes, I’ve often felt Saturday-ish…that life is a time of preparation waiting for resurrection. Yet the analogy is not exactly right as I must also feel Good Friday-ish: for I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20
Wonderful post. You said, “The problem was, healing isn’t a linear process.” That is something we forget way too often! We want it to be, we think it should be–but it’s just not. He’s Lord of our process and healing. He’s engineer of our resurrection. Great stuff, Bonnie. Thank you!
So beautiful! Love chose me too 😀 His love is most beautiful in the pain. Sometimes, I don’t recognize until after the pain is gone. Easter for me this year is being mindful of it in the pain. Like right now. So much joy, wonder, hope, and beauty in the chaos. I’m so thankful He’s on mess patrol. Thank You Jesus.
Have a Happy Easter Bonnie. His love will get us through! Woohoo!!!
Wow, this is really powerful. It’s an odd tension waiting for resurrection power today meanwhile knowing one day we will experience it in complete fullness. Thanks for sharing!
Recovery is tough, but so rewarding when it’s over to see what God has been trying to make you into all this time. Great blog!
Wow! Your story encourages me so much! I have been dealing with several issues in the past couple of years, one of which is chronic pain, as yet with a clear diagnosis, but it has caused me to have to make radical life changes and question what my purpose is now that I can’t do all that I did before. Thank you for sharing so openly about your journey….it was a great reminder of what Jesus has been trying to show me in this season.
And I love the opening quote…SO GOOD!
Hard obedience. I’m not safe in my ambiguity about attending a church that is uncomfortably liberal (in denominational affiliation) yet in my good days I want to give these dear folk (mostly older) the things I have learned “since my infancy” and yesterday was able to bring in a friend to lead a Passover meal. It went so well. Today I dreaded going to Maundy Thursday service and yet went with husband and fiercely loyal daughter, and was blessed. Oil on forehead at start of service, reckoning back to Ash Wednesday but with spoken assurance of forgiveness. Songs sung. I am looking forward to tomorrow, and whatever God has for me, for us.
To me, Easter means awaking to life. Before Jesus’ death and resurrection, we knew nothing of redemption or turning toward the light. We lived in spiritual semi-darkness. There is always something of mystery about the day to me. The heavy days of darkness before prepare us for the promises revealed as Jesus transends death on Easter morning. Easter is hope in life and new beginnings. Each Easter, I feel reborn. I’ve died to what I was and awake as a new being with new understanding of what my life is–a gift from God ever changing and growing toward His light.
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Love what was said about pain. I needed to read that today!
I love that quote from Pete Wilson. I think he’s hit on something really profound. The disciples and Christ-followers had no idea on Saturday that Sunday was coming. They never understood Him when He foretold His resurrection. Look where they were, hiding in the upper room and mourning. Right now I feel like I’m in a season of not understanding His foretelling. We sense the closure of Friday for us here in California, we have a vague sense of what He’s telling us to do, but the joy of Sunday is not yet upon us. Here I sit, smack dab in Saturday. Thanks for your encouragement, Bonnie! 🙂 Praying for you as you sit in your own questions and unknown…
Reading this post, I had that feeling of “oh, THAT’s what I mean!” that I have been unable to articulate for myself in this Triuudum. You did a fabulous job of explaining waiting and healing, and have given me a great Holy Saturday start.
I hope you have a very happy Easer season!
Thank you for sharing your healing story. Today I am 10 months into a disabling chronic illness flare, and the predominant symptom is one the doctors know they can’t fix or predict. Some recover in 2 weeks, some in 7 years. Your therapist’s thoughts on pain and healing encourage me in the waiting.
For me this year part of Easter is believing in Sunday when life feels like Saturday in a lot of ways.
May the Lord make your Easter worship true and fill it with His joy!
“It wasn’t hope in recovery. It was hope in Jesus.”
Bonnie, your words resonate with my heart and spirit. Framing the Saturday, i.e., waiting period, helps with understanding the process of healing. Knowing that those who hope in the Lord will never be ashamed and that the faithfulness of our Lord is steadfast, enables me to wait in faith.
Happy Resurrection Celebration!
This was very encouraging to me. I “randomly” found this post when I googled “healing does it get worse before it gets better” I have been struggling with tailbone pain from childbirth for 7 months now and it just recently got much worse. I was feeling so discouraged about it, and your words have been a great reminder to trust Jesus and hope in Him not in my own timeline of recovery. I know he will heal me, I feel like he has spoken to me about that. It’s just a matter of. When. It’s tough bc I am having trouble picking up and carrying my baby. Thank you for this sweet word. God bless!