Homecoming and Hope
I’m one of those cheesy people who gets over-excited for each and every festive season. Holidays put me in an annoyingly good mood, and I take my ‘Holiday spirit’ very seriously. Easter is one of my favourite weekends. How could it not be? When it’s filled with warm and sticky hot cross buns, giant chocolate eggs in collectible mugs, precious time spent with my family and endless cups of rooibos tea. When I was a child, my mother would stage these epic Easter Egg Hunts. She would take all morning to set up, placing clues around the house and in the garden. These hunts were like a mini-Christmas for a six-year-old girl, and I couldn’t wait until she gave me the go ahead and handed me my first clue. It was mapped out cleverly, with each folded piece of paper depicting an object or piece of furniture, where I would find a mini egg waiting along with my next clue. At the end of the hunt would be my treasure: an entire bundle of chocolate eggs. It’s funny, because I remember always feeling slightly disappointed, inside of ecstatic, when the hunt was over and I had found my treasure. I would beg her to set up another one, because what I really liked, more than the chocolate, was the excitement that the clues gave me.
As I’ve grown older, I’ve found that life can be like an Easter egg hunt. We can race from day-to-day, anxious to get to the next step, always hoping that once we get that ‘one thing’ we’ll be fulfilled, at peace, and can finally stop running. But it doesn’t work like that… because that ‘one thing’ starts to move and change and grow until we aren’t sure what it is that we’re looking for anymore: inner peace, financial stability, a healthy family. Once we think we’ve finally reached it, we look into the bottom of the barrel and find that it’s empty and we have something else to chase after.
I found this way of living exhausting. It felt as if I was on a never-ending treadmill: putting in all this effort and not moving even one foot forward. The moment I realised what, or rather who, I was really searching for, things began to change. I believe that all that time, doing all that running, I was desperately seeking hope. Something that gave purpose to my day-to-day life. Something that told me that there was MORE than what I was seeing all around me. I wanted to get to the bottom of the barrel and find that it wasn’t empty… and I wanted to get there and find LIFE.
When I went back to church in my late teens, after skipping out on it most of high school, I discovered something that I hadn’t even realised I was looking for. The empty driving force that had gnawed at the edge of my soul fell silent. I no longer felt the need to keep running from thing to thing, to keep chasing a life that seemed to ever evade my grasp. I realised that all along I hadn’t been running towards anything, but actually running away, and finally when I stopped, I allowed myself to be found by God.
Easter reminds me of my homecoming – of the night that I walked into a Church building, full of frustration, regret, and a craving for something more; and I walked out fulfilled, carrying peace in my heart. That evening changed something for me irrevocably. It gave me not only a relationship with Jesus, but an eternal, Heaven-focused hope. That’s what the Easter message is – a message of hope that says that there is so much more to life than the world is telling us. There’s more than a pension plan, bad cholesterol and 2.5 kids. There’s passion, peace, courage, and a purpose that reaches far beyond career goals and job opportunities. If you ever get tired of running, of trying to make life work and happen by yourself: remember that there is a God who has designed something far more for you than you could ever imagine; and He is eagerly awaiting your homecoming.