The day after Easter.
The day after we celebrate Christ's empty tomb.
The day after the celebration is a different sort of day.
On the day after Easter, parents often struggle to connect the dots between serving a risen Savior and caring for kids with special needs.
On the day after Easter, the gap between what is and what is to come can seem impossible to bridge.
On the day after Easter, we are like the disciples who went into hiding in a locked room on Sunday evening, even though Mary Magdalene had already brought them news of the resurrection. They didn't doubt her witness. Instead, they allowed their fear of the Jews to crowd out their joy. In the same way, we allow the realities of caregiving to dim our delight in the One who died to set us free.
We are like Cleopas and his friend on their way to Emmaus. Though they had been told of the resurrection earlier in the day, sadness engulfed them. Their gloom didn't lift until after Jesus joined them, until after He took them through the Scriptures, until after He ate supper with them, and they finally recognized Him. Only then did the reality of the resurrection sink in and restore their joy.
Because our circumstances and our reactions are similar to those of the disciples, their stories provide comfort and practical guidance for us in the following ways.
First, we need to cut ourselves some slack.
If the disciples who saw and touched the risen Savior struggled on the day of the resurrection, we should be patient when we struggle on the day after Easter. Doubts, struggles, and sadness are part of the human condition. Eventually the disciples moved beyond them, and so will we.
Second, ask Jesus to show himself.
Jesus came into the locked room where the disciples were hiding, and they didn't even ask. Jesus promises to answer when we ask in his name (John 14:14), so ask Him to show Himself and then watch for Him.
Third, talk to someone.
The disciples could have locked themselves away individually, but they gathered in one room and talked. Cleopas and his friend could have gone to Emmaus separately, but they chose to walk and talk. The day after Easter, when the excitement dies down and reality sets in, is a good time to encourage one another. Your caregiving duties may keep you at home, but you can phone, text, email, or video chat with fellow believers.
Fourth, get into God's Word.
After Jesus revealed Himself and vanished, Cleopas and his traveling companion said to one another, "Did not our hearts burn within us while He talked to us on the road while he opened to us the Scriptures?" (Luke 24:32, ESV). God's Word is His primary means of revealing Christ in this age. We need to dig into it as best our caregiving situation allows and trust Him to meet us there. Listen to an audio version of the Bible. Join a Bible study online or in person. Find a church with solid Bible preaching. Attend in person if you can or download sermons if you can't.
Fifth, look to the future.
Scripture promises that our present sufferings and those of our children are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us (Romans 8:18). The day after Easter is an opportunity to reflect upon the magnitude of the glory we will one day experience for eternity. Our suffering on earth is great, but it can't compare with what is yet to come.
For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.
For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:17–18
Jolene Philo is the author of the Different Dream series for parents of kids with special needs. She speaks at parenting and special needs conferences around the country. She's also the creator and host of the Different Dream website. Sharing Love Abundantly With Special Needs Families: The 5 Love Languages® for Parents Raising Children with Disabilities, which she is co-authoring with Dr. Gary Chapman, will be released August 6, 2019 and is available for preorder now on Amazon.