By Rev. Cliff Wall
They walked a lonely road of doubt and fear headed for despair. Two men wondering on a Sunday afternoon, “What might have been? What might have been if their teacher had not died?” (Luke 24:21). Doubting the reports of women and angels, who that morning swore that he really was alive (Luke 24:13-35).
What might have been, if that dream had not been devoured by a nightmare? What might have been, if that disease had not come calling? If that precious child had not been lost? If that baby had seen the light of day, or that teenager had walked across the stage? If that parent had not been so filled with rage? What might have been if that mother had lived to see her children have children one beautiful day?
What might have been of that relationship, if I had said something differently or just different? Or if I had said nothing at all? What might have been if I had decided differently? Or if something different—something just and true—had been decided about me?
I wonder, oh how I wonder, about what might have been? What if that accident had not happened? If tragedy had not fallen? If evil had never darkened my door?
So often in this world the beauty and joy of the seed of potential never finds its bloom. Things in this world are really never as good as they could be, and neither are we. Hopes are dashed; dreams are shattered; and the warm light of every life—not matter how dim or how bright— seems to be extinguished by the cold darkness of death.
But those two despondent disciples did not walk alone. A familiar stranger, no stranger to the evil of this world, came along side them, bringing with him Easter’s answer to the question, “What might have been?” Also to the one about what will be?
The promise of Easter is that through Jesus and the power of his resurrection we have a real and living hope, hope that our future is as bright as Christ’s past. We have hope that the potential of what might have been in this fallen world will be far, far better than all we could ever imagine. The glimmer of the good of what might have been in this world, will be infinitely brighter and more brilliant in the world to come. O what a day it will be to see those who never walked, joyously leaping and dancing with Jesus in the blessed Trinity! To see those who never talked singing, “holy, holy, holy is He”!
The darkness of that Friday afternoon, was swallowed up in the light of the victory of Sunday morning. Therefore, it is good; Christ’s death is redemptive. The hopelessness of what might have been has been swallowed up in the victory of what will be because of Easter. Hope has come; hope is with us; hope will come again.
Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? Thanks be to God who gives us the victory of what will be over what might have been through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.