• Michael Langer

The Resurrection of Hope

Because of the resurrection of Jesus, we can pray for the best outcomes with relative hope, and have full assurance in the blessings of our certain hope.


“He is Risen!”


“He is risen, indeed”


So went the greeting at many churches Easter Sunday.


It was my intention to post a long thought out devotional last week to emphasize the hope that Easter brings. Then the bottom fell out of our lives.


Last Tuesday, my wife and I headed out the door to Reagan National for a flight to Omaha so we could be present for the birth of our first grandson only a little while away in Vermillion, South Dakota. Just before we left, my wife received a phone call from her mother that her father had passed away in Iowa.


It was unexpected, but not surprising. He had recently beaten lung cancer, but some complications apparently caused him to pass away the previous night. On the way to the airport, my wife called each of our four children to give them the news that their Grandpa had died. It was heartbreaking to hear those calls. Arrangements would have to wait.


Wednesday morning, we headed to the hospital where our daughter was in the early stages of labor. Moments after we arrived, the doctor indicated that an urgent C-section was needed and that we should go to the waiting room as they wheeled our scared daughter away, her husband at her side.


“Your daughter is doing okay, but we had some complications during delivery. An airflight is on the way from the Children’s Hospital.” These are words no parent ever wants to hear. Not just hearing but actually feeling a large helicopter land outside a hospital waiting room and watching a NICU flight team enter the building like Navy Seals headed for your grandchild creates a moment of great clarity.


You can do nothing, except pray. Pray for skilled doctors, nurses, and every possible medical intervention available. Also, you pray for a miracle.


During the hour long car ride to the Children’s Hospital with my son-in-law, I did the most that I could do. I asked every single person I could think of to pray for our grandson, Dallas. And pray they did. Hundreds of people from all over the world prayed consistently for the next three days as Dallas made his way into induced hypothermia to prevent possible brain damage. Wires were everywhere including those connected to a 24/7 EEG to monitor for possible seizures.


“There is nothing we can do about what has already happened to Dallas. But we are doing everything we can to minimize and prevent further damage,” was the sobering statement of the neonatologist.


My wife’s emotions were pulled in every way from her daughter, to her grandson, to her mom mourning the loss of her husband. Both of us were powerless. All we could do was continue to pray.


On Easter Sunday, Pastor Owen Lee of Christ Central Presbyterian church said, “There are two types of hope: relative hope and certain hope.”


On the days leading up to Easter Sunday, my wife and I along with hundreds of our friends had relative hope in the skilled doctors, nurses, therapists, and treatment plans underway to help Dallas. We were praying that these would be effective. But, as we all know, sometimes even the best doctors and treatments are limited in their ability to heal. This is the nature of relative hope.


Certain hope comes with the assurance that everything is going to work out exactly how the God of steadfast love and faithfulness wills on this earth. It is also the assurance that whatever the outcome, Christ rules all things, has rescued us from the power of death, will restore this world to its created intention, and that one day, His children will live together without sadness, injustice, sickness, suffering, or death in the new heavens and new earth.


On Good Friday, Jesus suffered and died. It was brutal, gruesome, and undeserved.

On Easter Sunday, Jesus rose from the dead. It was beautiful, joyous, and promised.


Because of the resurrection of Jesus, we can pray for the best outcomes with relative hope, and have full assurance in the blessings of our certain hope.


The memorial service for my wife’s father is in a couple weeks. Dallas Wade Risinger, was released from the hospital on the Thursday after Easter. He is home and doing miraculously well.


“He is risen!” is something we should say every day. It is our certain hope!




Rev. Michael Langer is the Associate Director for the D.C. ministry.