The resurrection celebration at my Church yesterday left me with mixed emotions. I was overwhelmed by Christ’s victory over death. At the same time, I my thoughts were drawn to my wife, Jill.
Jill passed away four years ago. While I feel the agony of losing the love of my life, she experiences the triumph of the resurrection. Of course I understand and rejoice in the reality of Jill’s life in Christ. And I certainly praise God that she is united with Him in Christ’s resurrection. But as long as I am still on earth, I continue to experience the tension of the “already but not yet” nature of kingdom life.
Already -I am seated in heavenly places with Christ. Not yet -have I left this world to be fully home. Already -I know in part the victory in Christ. Not yet -have I experienced the unfiltered glory of Christ. Already -I know in part. Not yet -have I known fully as I am known.
For those of us who know the loss of loved ones, author Jerry Sittser describes this tension powerfully in his book, A Grace Disguised: “Those who suffer loss live suspended between a past for which they long and a future for which they hope.” He goes on to explain from his own life, “I remembered a past that included people I did not want to give up, and I imagined a future that excluded people I desperately wanted to keep.”
I guess that’s why celebrating the resurrection was so emotional for me yesterday. The same event that reminds me of my separation from Jill also reminds me that the separation is only temporary. My only encouragement is in knowing that just as Jill has experienced the fulfillment of resurrection life, one day I will too -when the “already” meets the “not yet” for the last time!