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Lara Patangan contemplates Christ's Resurrection in the light of the necessity of the enormous surrender that preceded it.

Sitting on the couch one afternoon, I asked God what His will was for my life. Trying to answer such an important question sometimes feels as amorphous as wondering what life will be like in another millennium or what ice cream flavor would best describe my personality. It’s both too big and too maddening to solve.  

Besides, I was recovering from a stomach virus and feeling particularly puny, so the only answer that kept going through my head to the weighty question of what God’s will was for my life was merely to lie down. It hardly seemed like a directive from God. Even a self-help guru would perhaps find the suggestion counterproductive. After all, we are Americans. We stand up. We work. We get it done. Lying down is not a solid life plan for anyone other than a cat. 

Yet when I think of the glory of Jesus’ Resurrection, I realize it was only by laying down His life that His miraculous rising was possible. While seemingly paradoxical, I think this is true for us too. By laying down resentment, expectations, estrangement, disappointment, ego, and envy we make life better for ourselves and others. The triumph of Easter was only possible because of the surrender that preceded it.  




Since infancy, when we balled our tiny hands into fists, it seems like our instinct has always been to hold tight. Conversely, surrender is a radical act of love, none more so than Jesus dying on the cross for our salvation. For many of us surrender sounds wobbly and weak. As we gaze at the crucifix, suffering just seems painful. So I get the great reluctance that surrender invokes. Yet the plain truth is we can’t rise without first laying down what we were never meant to carry. There is so much in life that we hold on to that entombs us. The more we lay down our own hurts, put to rest both big and petty grievances, and surrender our whims for God’s Holy will, the closer we are to our own rising.  

Easter reminds us of the hope of new life. It’s a call to rise higher in this life. It’s a chance to add pink to the charcoal tinted shadows of human despair. God’s message is a universal call to love. We can’t do that while our hands are balled into fists and our hearts are sullied with the detritus of life’s disappointments. It may not always feel like it, but our time on earth is nothing but a rising.  We are enduring people.  Our suffering does not define us. Our injuries do not bind us.  Challenges, adversity, and wounds cannot stop our ascent—unless we let them. 

Do not rejoice over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will arise." (Micah 7:8a)


The real enemy in life isn’t what hurts us, and it isn’t our falls or our failures. It’s merely the way we hold on to them when it’s past time to lay them down.  




Only then do we walk out of the tomb and into the light that’s meant for us. What can be more appealing than a do-over, a chance to start again, to be a little bit better this time around, to do something as revolutionary as forgive and as lavish as unreciprocated kindnesses?

Easter offers us that mercy. May we rejoice as we rise to the occasion.  


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Copyright 2024 Lara Patangan
Images: Canva