Holy week is full of trauma: a betrayal amongst friends, an arrest, suffering, pain, and death. In holy week, we go to the depths of human suffering and sorrow. But then Easter comes. Easter is a whole liturgical season, in fact, it is 50 days from Easter to Pentecost. Easter is a season of hope.
Trauma and hope… all mixed up together.
My child was diagnosed with cancer in the season of Advent, a season of waiting. And for us, it was not the type of waiting that was filled with joyful anticipation often felt in Advent, rather, waiting with dreaded worry and fear. Then a few months later as my child was on his 4th month of chemotherapy treatment, we were in the liturgical season of Easter, a season of hope. We were clinging to hope that Easter season. Hope that God shows us in the dark, hope that our community would hold us, hope that the resurrection means there can be new life even in the most hopeless of situations.
So many of us have experienced trauma in our lives. And we have all grappled with the collective trauma of the pandemic. Scripture can sound different and feel different in light of trauma.
When my child was sick and our family was in the depths of trauma, we clung to these 5 passages of scripture. These passages spoke to our trauma and to the good news of the resurrection, hope.
1. “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
This was freeing to think that God would be God and I could be human.
2. “Look! God’s dwelling is here with humankind. He will dwell with them, and they will be his peoples. God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more. There will be no mourning, crying, or pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Then the one seated on the throne said, “Look! I’m making all things new.” Revelation 21:3-5
I love this idea, a vision that the ultimate ending would be God coming to make a home here on earth, with us and our people, and take away all pain, suffering, and death. That brings me hope to imagine our broken world at peace.
3. “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.” Romans 8:26
I often had no words to pray when my child was sick, but trusted my groans would be prayer enough and the Spirit would be present.
4. “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
he restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I fear no evil;
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff—
they comfort me.”
This was a passage I never had to look up thanks to my childhood Sunday School teachers. Psalm 23 is embedded in my memory, what a gift. I can recite its comforting words anytime, anywhere.
5. “When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. … Jesus began to weep.” John 11: 33 and 35
I am moved by a God that loves us so much that He sends His only son Jesus to come and live the human experience, weeping and all.
I wish we could promise a world without trauma, but we can’t. But we can promise a God who shows up even in trauma and the hope of the resurrection.
What scripture brings you hope?
-Written by Brittany Porch
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