Chances are at one point or another you’ve seen one or more of the odd-looking stone statues—known as moai—from Easter Island far off the coast of Chili in the South Pacific. Legend has it that these figures with large heads were a means to honor, deify, and draw upon dead ancestors.
The name “Easter Island” has nothing to do with the statues, but stems from the fact that Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen discovered the island on Easter Sunday in 1722. (I think maybe he was on to something.) Easter Island continues to be one of the most isolated islands in the world to be inhabited by humans.
Imagine yourself a crew member of a sailing ship trying to navigate the South Pacific during Roggeveen’s time. Navigational charts, while available, were often of questionable quality; entire islands were sometimes “misplaced.” An excellent example would be that of Pitcairn Island where Fletcher Christiana and eight other crew members from the mutiny on the HMS Bounty lived in secrecy because the British Royal Navy’s charts were inaccurate.
There are times when maneuvering the difficulties of this world can be compared to navigating the treacherous waters of areas like the South Pacific. Inhabitable land is sparse and difficult to find. Fierce storms can pop up out of seemingly nowhere. And hidden underwater reefs can snag a ship, dooming it to be battered and destroyed by the merciless waves.
Elements of life on earth are often more harsh than we’d like to admit. Sometimes, we feel as though we are adrift in the midst of a cold, cruel sea of humanity. Sickness, trauma, or job loss can blindside us when all seems well. Selfish ideas and actions, even by well-meaning people, can ground us on hidden reefs of doubt, confusion, and bitterness.
When my life becomes tumultuous, whether I feel as though I’m stuck on a reef or drifting helplessly out to sea, I’m always happy to see the Easter holiday roll around. In part, it’s because I know another frigid winter is past, and warmer weather will be on the horizon. In part, it’s also because I’m excited to soon wet my line and do a little trout fishing. But there’s another reason I’m always glad to see Easter coming—and it’s far more meaningful than anything else that I’ve mentioned.
Easter isn’t simply a date on my calendar; it is my Landmark.
Regardless of what storms are blowing in my life, no matter how crazy or out of control things seem, and no matter how lost I might feel at any given moment, the resurrection of Jesus Christ puts everything into perspective.
Because He lives, I am secure. Because He lives, my needs will be met. Because He lives, I am at peace. Because He lives, my future is bright. And even when my fragile body one day goes to its grave, I will rejoice with anticipation as my living hope comes clearly into focus.
Rabbits, peeps, and chocolate eggs aside (even the ones filled with peanut butter), Easter is one of the most meaningful holidays we can celebrate. The remembrance of our Lord’s resurrection is more than a date on the calendar; it is the unmovable Landmark on the spiritual map of our lives. Let’s leave Easter on the calendar, but let’s also circle it on the map!
Easter Island map by Eric Gaba (Sting), translated by Bamse , via Wikimedia Commons
Moai photo by Aurbina (Own work) , via Wikimedia Commons
Check out Bob’s devotional, Champions in the Wilderness – Fifty-Two Devotions to Guide and Strengthen Emerging Overcomers, for encouraging messages similar to this one. Also, The Divine Progression of Grace is free on Easter weekend!