There is always hope in darkness, because there was Hope lying in a grave for three days—He who now is seated at the right hand of the Father in Heaven.
Can you imagine what it must have been like to watch Jesus take His last breath? I often wonder if, maybe, just one person in the crowd waited eagerly with a glimmer of hope, seconds before He breathed His last, that He might work one final miracle and come down off the cross, showcasing Himself as the “Son of God.” I wonder what it was like not seeing that take place. If I were that person in the crowd, I can only imagine what it would feel like watching what I genuinely expected and hoped for not happen. Or what would it be like sitting at home that same day, thinking, “But He said…and I believed…”
I envision the reality of Jesus’ death was a mix of emotions for His disciples. Thoughts of hopelessness, deep sorrow, grief, frustration, and hurt that Jesus maybe wasn’t who He claimed to be. All of this accompanied by the inner struggle of simultaneously feeling foolish for the time invested, while still suffering the anguish of losing a dear friend and loved one in whom you had placed so much of your hope.
If it were me, I think I’d be angry.
However, can you even fathom the experience that took place after three days of sitting in sorrow: coming upon an empty grave, seeing angels appear, and then later the Messiah, Jesus Himself, showing up in your midst? That is terrifying! That is glorious.
I imagine the inner dialogue of one of the disciples:
Everything the prophets proclaimed of this Jesus was true. Each word He spoke was true. I see now how all these days of sorrow were redeemed by the confirmation and fruition of the Truth. Jesus is Lord! Jesus is the temple destroyed and rebuilt. Woe is me! Who was I to doubt? Of course, He is who He says He is. Of course, He is here. It is Jesus. Why did I stand in disbelief when my Lord said this would happen? How could I not understand it? Praise the Lord! He has risen! Hope is alive again!
As I read over the events of Holy Week, I reflect on my own life. I have gone through many seasons wondering where God was leading, what was He doing, trying to cling to His character and promises that I have come to know well through Scripture. In desperate attempts, I’ve tried to figure out if I rightly understood His will, and suddenly, I’ve been shaken to my core in seeing Jesus show up in my space, proving that He is who He says He is. All that I questioned simply makes sense in His presence. The things I feared to have misheard simply just took time, the Lord’s time, for me to comprehend and appreciate them.
Perhaps it is in this waiting that parts of us have to die. My desires and expectations have to fall so that the things of the Lord can live and more fully blossom in me. Personal assumptions of how circumstances should play out needed to be torn down so that I could see the fullness of the Lord’s plans at work. Such a process of adjustment has allowed me the insight necessary to appreciate the things God places on my heart. Through this spiritual growth, I am better able to bear witness to His work as it comes to fruition, for even in my anxiety during such seasons of internal change, this truth remains: what God proclaims will always come in His time—His perfect time.
For Jesus’ followers, Good Friday marked the rough start of a journey that would ultimately harbor a glorious moment in time that changed their lives forever. Therefore, I pray we may all simply sit and be still. Even as we navigate through our turmoil or doubt, we are able to rejoice in the hope we have in Christ, that Jesus is who He says He is and what He declares will come to pass.
I don’t know where you find yourself as we approach this Holy Week, with the effects of 2020 still rippling alongside the new bumps that 2021 has offered. You may feel like you are in a season that should have changed by now. Or, perhaps you are in a headspace that is questioning if God was genuinely leading you down the path you’ve recently taken.
Invite the Lord in, for He is the hope in the grave and the light in our darkest moments. Through Him, we can hold perfect sight through the confusion, the unexpected, and the disorientation this world offers. For in our Savior, we have the support and love of the One who lives, brings dead things to life, and can show up in our spaces even when we least expect Him.
Where might Jesus be inviting you to let go of your desires and expectations and instead receive Him?
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