Dave Sable first posted this on Facebook:
“I admit that when I am hit with my occasional bouts of depression that it is hard to really get into the “He is Risen!” spirit. Resurrection Life seems a really cool concept, a neat idea. But the reality feels a million miles away from my experience. Over Passion Week, I admit relating better to Judas and Peter (those who failed through poor choices) than experiencing a chipper, up-beat, always-joyous Resurrection Life flowing through my veins.
“The disciples lived for a time between two events. One event was that of dashed hopes of the crucifixion. The other was the then-unknown victory of the resurrection. Some are hard on Peter for going back to his old vocation of fishing but the temptation to give into despair is not trivial. He had no mental category to believe that Sunday was coming.
“Even after the resurrection, despair is luring. The Resurrection certainly speaks of victory and new life yet I live in a world where to me this new life feels very other-worldly and distant. I am surrounded by bad decisions and difficult conversations. As many as come to God, many seem to fall away; even more are indifferent. The vibrancy and cultural-effect of the church is diminished compared to the early church. Catastrophic national problems are caused not through accidents or natural disasters but through sheer selfishness and evil intent.
“Why should I believe in God’s victory of any kind when life is so difficult, the world is so dangerous, and purposeless evil seems to reign?
“There are three ways to look at this problem. First, I can turn to cynicism and assume all of this talk of new life and resurrection is childish fairy tales. To do this, I would have to give up altogether.
“Second, I can put blinders on towards the evil and difficulty in this life and claim that by faith there is no sickness, sorrow, or economic crisis – that Jesus’ victory is here now to those who claim it and those who look at the difficulty of life commit the ultimate sin of lacking faith. To do this, I would have to redefine or ignore the inconsistencies in my own life and the world about me.
“The third view is the one that makes the most sense to me. Like the disciples, I too live between two events. The first event is the Resurrection where the victory was secured. The second event is the new heaven and the new earth where the victory will be brought to full fruition.
“In my life today, I see sparkling glimmers of the victory at Calvary- the drug addict that gets free, the marriage that gets restored, the life that is sacrificed in service to God, the believer who stands for justice in his workplace, and the manic depressive person who drags herself to church to serve coffee and be around others. These are hints that something vital and wonderful was secured on Calvary and people to some degree are working that victory out.
“However, these hints are pointing to a day future where what we know today will be transformed into a new heaven and new earth. All of our feeble attempts at holiness, love, righteousness, and godliness will be resurrected and made into what God had always intended it to be. No decision we make today, no struggle, no attempt to please God will be wasted. Evil will be cast down. New life will be fully manifested.
“So even though I see though a glass darkly, I can celebrate the past victory, imperfectly seek to accord my life to that victory today and live expectantly to see its full fruition in the future. He is risen indeed.”
Thanks, Dave. Where I fellowship this concept is referred to as “the already” and “the not yet”. I think the wonder of the resurrection is often spoken of as if now everything is resolved in victory, forgetting that Jesus has not yet come again in his kingdom. I especially like how you refer to this as the transformation of the new heaven and new earth. We see the glimmers of new life among God’s people, but life on earth will be completely transformed when the new earth is come and the King is reigning in glory!