Stop judging by the way things look. – John 7:24 ERV
Jesus was dead.
They’d believed He was the Messiah, the Promised One, the Son of God. Divine. He’d healed the sick, raised the dead, cast out evil spirits, fed crowds of thousands with a few loaves of bread and a couple of fish, walked on water, calmed storms. He was their friend, their teacher, their master, their Lord.
How could this have happened? More important, how could He have let this happen?
His enemies had had the last word. (So everyone thought.)
Now what would happen to them?
I think about that day between Jesus’ death and His resurrection.
His body lay in a cold, dark, dank tomb, buried in haste by a rich disciple who also happened to be a member of the very Council that condemned Him to death. (He hadn’t been present at the illegal nighttime trial.)
His disciples were locked away in an upper room, cowering in fear, wondering if they’d be next. Best stay hidden.
His enemies visited the Roman governor and asked him to post a guard at the tomb, “lest His disciples come by night and steal Him away, and say to the people, ‘He has risen from the dead.’ So the last deception will be worse than the first.” (And by getting the guard, they proved that the disciples could not have come and taken the body. Ah, I love how God works!)
Yes, the time in the tomb was bleak. The disciples’ dreams of a Messianic kingdom were gone, bled out by the nails that pierced His hands and feet. The last shred of hope pierced by the spear that plunged into His side as He hung on the cross.
But all was not as it seemed.
It never is, is it?
We cannot see what God has in mind. We can only trust that He’s got this, and He knows what He’s doing. That eventually His plan and purpose will be fulfilled. We just have to wait it out.
Wait and pray.
Wait and hope.
Wait and fluctuate between fear and faith. Between despair and hope.
And waiting is the hardest part. It tests our faith, runs roughshod over what hope we’re left clinging to. It stirs up doubt. Does God really care about little me? Is He ever going to make something good happen?
But it’s in the cold, dark, dank tomb that our faith, through trial and testing, strengthens and grows. It doesn’t grow in the good times, when euphoria and adrenaline feed our emotions.
Faith isn’t about emotions, is it?
Faith isn’t about what we think, is it?
Faith, to paraphrase a favorite quote, is like driving at night in the fog (or heavy rain). You can only see as far as your headlights’ beam, but you can make the whole trip that way.
My friend and sister-in-Christ Laverne has lain in a coma since a speeding car hit her and sent her careening headfirst onto the pavement over Labor Day weekend. For seven months friends have prayed for a miracle.
I prayed. But, like the disciples, I doubted. Seven months of nothing. Her time – and our time – in the tomb.
But a few weeks ago a thought came, unbidden: “Wouldn’t Easter be the perfect time for God to bring this precious lady of faith out of her tomb?” I pushed it aside. After all, look at the facts. Even the doctors said there was no hope. And even if her body survived, her mind wouldn’t.
But yesterday I got a message from her husband: “Today Laverne was alert, with one eye open, squeezing my hand. Actually moved her hand sideways. When I got there, the nurse that shifts her position said Laverne was actually helping her move. (Never happened before.) Small miracles, slow but adding up. Thanks for continued prayers.”
Shame on me. I’m too much like Thomas. I want to see before I believe. But I have to believe before I can truly see.
Are you in a tomb?
Have faith. Cling to that last thread of hope.
Sunday’s coming. New life will explode out of that tomb.
Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief. Amen.
Read and meditate on Matthew 27:57–66
© 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.