I’ll be honest in saying that Easter caught me by surprise this year as I’ve been enjoying this ongoing thrill ride of life. I feel like a giant Easter Bunny has stalked me from behind and then leaped out suddenly, throwing peeps and chocolate eggs at me while enjoying the surprised (and disturbed) look on my unsuspecting countenance.

I’m sure I can’t be the only one who feels this way. After all, Easter seems to unfortunately fall by the wayside in comparison to the societal hype surrounding Christmas. While Easter observance is a yearly celebration of the resurrection of Christ, it surprises me that many, me included, seem less excited about it than we should be. While the Resurrection is something to be excited about year-round as we let the power of God shape our lives, I think it’s valid to meditate deeply on this subject during the upcoming holiday. Let’s try our best to forget about whatever else we have going on, and focus in on what Christ did on this day years ago.

I received some wonderful encouragement to do this during a moment I didn’t expect. I had just entered one of my literature classes on a dreaded test day. The tension in the room was tangible as I took my usual seat and pulled out my notes to do some last-minute reviews of authors and terms. My professor soon gathered the exams at her podium and asked us all how we were doing with an amiable look on her face.

Insert chirping crickets here. We all were, of course, feeling the pressure of our exam, and I assume many of us were also sleep deprived and overly occupied in thinking about the assignments we had yet to complete after the exam we were currently taking.

Sensing this tension, my professor told us how the test would work and then asked to pray over us. The class, of course, nodded and settled into the usual, habitual “prayer pose.” Our professor proceeded to converse with the Lord, and her prayer was so resounding that it helped to set the tone for my entire week. The prayer went something like this:

“Almighty God, I know that these students work hard and that they want to do well on this exam. While I ask that they do well, according to what they’ve learned, I ask more so that You would remind them of how insignificant this little test is in comparison to who You are and what You’ve done for us. As we prepare ourselves for the upcoming Easter celebration, I ask that you would astound us and remind us of Your greatness and how much more important You are than anything else we could ever concern ourselves with. Guide us and bring us closer to You, Father. In Christ’s name, amen.”

Talk about unexpected conviction! After taking the exam, I could not thank God enough for CBU and for the professors who offer this type of encouragement in the classroom. Not only are students offered the ability to learn from the best and the brightest, but we are fully encouraged to keep our focus on what matters most in life, and that is the glory of God.

This prayer was exactly what I needed to wake myself up and be reminded of how I can become so focused on miniscule things and lose focus. As we enter into Easter observance, let me encourage you to remember what God has done for us. He has shown His redemptive work throughout history and continues to move in powerful ways. He is the very definition of love and goodness, and apart from Him we have no thing of beauty. In the act of sending His son to die and be raised from the dead for us, He shows us the ultimate act of love, which enables us to come to know Him and worship Him in all that we do.

While it is easy to lose enthusiasm for the things that matter when we are bogged down with distractions, God will always manage to break through our barriers and bring us back to Him. I thank Him for that as I continue to prepare to give Him all I’ve got in worship this Easter, and in all the days after that. I hope that we all have an exceptionally blessed holiday, and that we keep our focus where it counts. Happy Easter!