One of our Easter songs begins with the words, “The strife is o’re the battle done…” Such a joyful song and so many “alleluia"s voiced. But those words might be hitting a painful chord within us today. Yes, it is the Easter season within the Church, but we as the body of Christ continue to carry the cross. And many times it is a heavy cross. Why can’t we have the victory now? Why do we still have to see so many suffering? Why do we feel such sorrow in our hearts for those friends and family members who are struggling? It’s Easter, after all. Lent is over. We are supposed to be a joyful people, are we not? Then why might our souls feel downhearted during this joyous time within the Church?
Christian living is definitely not for the faint-hearted. This path we have chosen to follow is not an easy one, to be sure! But St. Paul tells us that we must be a people dressed for battle, a battle not against flesh and blood as he says in Ephesians chapter 6, but against the powers and rulers of this present darkness. These unseen forces cause us to feel discouraged and weak, powerless and fearful, angry and resentful. Many wonder if their life has purpose, giving into a spirit of hopelessness.
So the question becomes, how do we remain strong, courageous, and yes, even joyful in the midst of these difficult times? Well, first of all, we must acknowledge that the victory has already been won. That’s the promise and the hope of Christ’s resurrection. Christ shed His precious blood and died for all and rose from the dead to give us hope of eternal life. And then He commissioned us to continue to fight the good fight of faith. But sometimes, as a “soldier”, we become weary, frustrated, tired of waiting for the “war” to be over. What is St. Paul’s answer to this? He says, “Pray at all times, on every occasion, in every season in the Spirit. Keep alert and watch with strong purpose and perseverance, interceding in behalf of all the saints.” (Amplified Bible)
Prayer; it is a simple thing, yet so very powerful; a conversation with God, telling Him everything in our hearts, speaking with honesty about what we are enduring, and then listening with great care to what He may wish to speak to us. Our God, who knows us through and through, hears our every utterance, our every sigh. His Heart is filled with great love for us and He longs to bless us with His gifts of peace, joy and healing. This time of prayer will be the source of our strength, will be what enables us to live life with a greater vision, will ultimately help us to sing out with conviction those Easter alleluias even in the darkest of days.
Perhaps if we haven’t experienced the joy of Easter, we should take some time to spend with the Lord in prayer. Even if we can’t find any words to speak, if we let him into our hearts, the same Spirit which raised Jesus from the dead will come and restore each of us to new life. Then we can truly sing with all our hearts, "Alleluia!"