When Cracked Souls Need an Empty Tomb

Sometimes we’re broken, and we don’t even know it.

A few years ago, my Ella was jumping like a rocket on the springy-black-death-trap we like to call a trampoline. Momma always said they were dangerous. She was right. Ella slipped, hurting her foot.

For five days, this Mom of the Year told her kid to “suck-it-up” and “stop being so dramatic” and “yes, you’re going to ballet.”

At some point I realized I might be wrong.

A podiatrist and a few x-rays spelled out my slight error in judgment. I’d forced my daughter to walk on a broken foot for five days. The fractures were hidden from view, but they were there—stabbing fire in to the fragile bones of my girl. Her pain tolerance and my blind-eye missed the truth.

The truth is, sometimes we’re broken, and we don’t even know it. Sometimes we’re broken, and walking one more step is too hard to bear. Or the world ignores our pain. Or we wonder if we can make it just one. more. day. Or we don’t believe our splintered souls can be pieced back together.

In my darkest days of clinical depression, the blackness closed in around me. I struggled for breath and staggered along, fragmented pieces of myself crumbling off along the way.


I realized during those shadowed days, slivers of Light would seep through the fractures left in my soul. I realized only when I’m cracked and raw can Jesus filter into the dark places. I realized I must face brokenness to know I need a Savior. I realized when I’m fragmented I understand how Christ can heal.

This is why.

This is why Jesus allowed himself to be wrecked upon splintered wood, beaten to a bloody mess. Shattered. Pierced. Murdered. For you. For me. For our own brokenness.

Christ died because His ripped and mangled body can make us whole.

This is why His broken form that can heal our cracked souls was pulled from the cross then placed in an empty, black tomb.

This is why Christ was crucified.

But God. Oh, the sweet sound of those two words.

But God raised. Oh, the miracle and hope we can breathe into our lungs.

But God raised Him from the dead. Oh, the joy! The glory-filled joy!

“…they took Him down from the tree and put Him in a tomb. But God raised Him from the dead.” Acts 13:29b-30

The stone was rolled away—the seal destroyed. Smashed so the world could have the Light.

We’re all broken. A broken mess of humanity. Our cracked souls are desperate for the empty tomb of the risen Lord. Jesus Christ, the Light of the world, filled that empty tomb, so that when we peer through the cracks of our souls we see His light filling our void. Filling and bringing hope.

Hope. Because hope is the power of the empty tomb. Jesus Christ came to embrace our fragmented souls with His extravagant grace. This is Easter—A risen Savior’s promise to redeem His broken children.

And oh, how my brokenness craves what Easter brings.

Heather Iseminger, her husband Michael, and their two children live in Florida. Heather teaches high school language and composition. You can read more from Heather at her blog, PetalsofJoy.org.


  1. gary says

    Jesus’ resurrection after his death is the ultimate and defining proof of Jesus’ divinity. Just about everyone knows the story, which is summarized in the Apostles’ Creed. Jesus was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. On the third day he arose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.
    There is only one way for Jesus to prove that he rose from the dead. He had to appear to people. Therefore, several different places in the Bible describe Jesus’ appearances after his death:

    •Matthew chapter 28
    •Mark chapter 16
    •Luke chapter 24
    •John Chapter 20 and 21

    1 Corinthians 15:3-6 provides a nice summary of those passages, as written by Paul:

    For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.

    As you can see in this passage, Jesus appeared to hundreds of people a number of different times.

    Being like Paul: When we look at these Bible passages, there is a question that comes to mind — why did Jesus stop making these appearances? Why isn’t Jesus appearing today? It really is odd. Obviously Paul benefitted from a personal meeting with the resurrected Christ. Because of the personal visit, Paul could see for himself the truth of the resurrection, and he could ask Jesus questions. So… Why doesn’t Jesus appear to everyone and prove that he is resurrected, just like he appeared to Paul? There is nothing to stop Jesus from materializing in your kitchen tonight to have a personal chat with you. And if you think about it, Jesus really does need to appear to each of us. If Paul needed a personal visit from Jesus to know that Jesus was resurrected, then why wouldn’t you? It is an important question for the following reasons:

    •We are told by the Bible that Jesus appeared to hundreds of people.

    •We therefore know that it is OK for Jesus to appear to people — it does not take away their free will, for example.

    •We know that it would be easy for Jesus to appear to everyone all through history, since Jesus is all-powerful and timeless.

    •We know that, if Jesus did reappear to everyone, it would be incredibly helpful. We could all know, personally, that Jesus is resurrected and that Jesus is God. If Paul (and all the other people in the Bible) needed a personal visit to know that Jesus was resurrected, then why not you and me?

    Yet, we all know that Jesus has not appeared to anyone in 2,000 years.

    THINK, folks! Which is more likely: A dead man walked out of his grave 2,000 years ago, ate a broiled fish lunch with his fishing buddies and then 40 days later levitated into outer space, or, this entire story of a Resurrection is a legend: a legend based on false sightings and/or visions and hallucinations, of well-intentioned but uneducated, illiterate, hope-shattered, superstitious Galilean peasants, desperately trying to keep alive their only source of hope in their miserable, first century existence?


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