Saturday, April 23, 2011

“He Is Risen”

When the grieving Mary Magdalene and the other Mary visited Christ’s tomb on the Sunday following the Savior’s horrific crucifixion on Friday, an angel declared: “Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen. . .” (Matthew 28:5-6; emphasis added). 

These words are particularly meaningful to Kathy and me. On October 28, 1983 our first son, Andrew Christian, was born. We called him Andy because the nickname fit him perfectly. He was a cute, blonde-haired, blue-eyed little boy. When he was two months old he became seriously ill, and we rushed him to the hospital. After 24 hours in the emergency room and intensive care unit, the doctors determined that he had biliary atresia—an incurable disease that destroys the liver’s bile ducts. Andy had two major surgeries to slow down the progress of the disease, but neither of these was successful. His only hope was a liver transplant. The doctors added his name to a transplant list, but it was too late and at 8 months of age he passed away. 

We buried Andy in a cemetery near our home, and we frequently visited his grave. About the same time he died, an unmarried girl in her twenties died. Her parents also buried her in the same cemetery, not from Andy’s grave. We often saw them by her grave at the cemetery. It was interesting to contrast how each of us were grieving. Because we had faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement, we believed with every fiber of our being those words—“He is risen.” Hope softened our grief because we believed in the resurrection. Though we were sad, the hope expressed in the words “He is risen” brought light to the darkness of grief. The girl’s parents, on the other hand, didn’t have faith in Jesus Christ and didn’t believe in the resurrection. They lacked hope. Bitterness, anger, and confusion flowed from their grief. 

I echo the following words of Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin that express my hope:

Each of us will have our own Fridays—those days when the universe itself seems shattered and the shards of our world lie littered about us in pieces. We all will experience those broken times when it seems we can never be put together again. We will all have our Fridays. But…Sunday will come. In the darkness of our sorrow, Sunday will come. No matter our desperation, no matter our grief, Sunday will come. In this life or the next, Sunday will come. (Joseph B. Wirthlin, “Sunday Will Come”, Ensign, November 2006, 2006 /11/sunday-will-come?lang=eng )

Jesus Christ said, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live…” (John 11:25-26).  

I am grateful for my faith in Jesus Christ. I am grateful for the “perfect brightness of hope” that flows from my faith. I know that because “He is risen” our little boy lives and will also be resurrected, and that we will all live together again.