Growing up a true Southern girl, Easter was always celebrated & church attendance was mandatory. All those years—I heard the same message. Jesus died a brutal death on a Cross, forgave his enemies in his suffering, and was buried in a tomb. After three days, resurrection burst forth from the burial-place and Jesus walked among his disciples. Death was overcome that glorious day. Just when the disciples had lost all hope, Jesus walked into the upper room where they were hiding in fear. They thought He wasn’t coming back. They thought the Romans won. His appearance restored hope that yes, His message of hope and grace and everlasting life was true. Hallelujah!
I did not consider the disciples actions until a few years ago when I went through a dark time in my own life. I remember weeping before the Lord speechless. Words could not even begin to express the depth of pain inflicting my heart. I couldn’t imagine how my life could ever be pieced back together. Have you experienced such a time?
Then came Easter. As I meditated on the story of crucifixion and resurrection, I noticed something for the first time about the disciples actions. And it was characteristic for my life at the time.
The disciples gave up on hope. I had lost hope.
After Jesus’ crucifixion, all twelve of Jesus’ closest followers hid in fear, assuredly praying the Romans wouldn’t find and crucify them too. Even though Jesus told them over and over that He would come back, when He breathed His last they went home and hung their heads. They gave up expecting Jesus’ promised resurrection.
I can only imagine the period of great mourning that followed. The disciples had left jobs and families and dedicated their lives to follow Jesus. And after all they went through with Him, all the miracles, the boat rides, the gatherings of thousands—He lay lifeless in a grave.
So the disciples ran. Mourned their loss. Grieved the Roman’s apparent victory. And hid in darkness.
We all know how the story ends. Jesus rises from the dead triumphantly, fulfilling his promise not just to His disciples—but to the world. A promise to raise your life and mine from the dead. The disciples seem ridiculous—hiding and crying about their dead Savior. Because the resurrection was always coming.
I knew I was living like the scared disciples. My life had turned out differently than planned and I could not pick up my and cling to hope. I wasn’t waiting at the tomb, expectant the resurrection was coming. I was hiding in the upper room with the disciples—hopeless.
The resurrection symbolizes death to life. God raised His Son, Jesus, from the dead and promises to do the same for you and I. Not just in a prayer of salvation, but in every circumstance in our life. Car accidents take lives. Miscarriages happen. The man you love chooses. False accusations wreck careers. Moments of passion end twenty year marriages. Infertility is diagnosed. Children feel abandoned. Dream jobs slip through fingers. But God promises this is never the end. All will be resurrected in time.
Mourning and weeping always predicates healing from suffering. You can’t insist on happiness and expect to find joy. During this noted hard time in my life, God showed me that it’s where I mourn that matters. Three years ago, I carried out my days hiding in the Upper Room. I wasn’t weeping at the tomb, expectant that Jesus was coming back. That was, until Easter came and I chose to begin waiting at the tomb. Expectant.
The message of Easter is this: Jesus overcame death. He triumphed over suffering. He nailed shame to the Cross, never to have power again. The crucifixion always comes. Each of us will at some time or another face a dark period in our lives when all hope is lost. Weep in these dark places. But do so with hope. Wait at the tomb in expectation. “He’s coming back. He promised He would.”
Jesus promised He would come back—why didn’t the disciples believe Him? They allowed their circumstances to darken their hope. They forgot Jesus’s consistent promise:
“I’m coming back for you.”
He’s always coming back. If you face storms this Easter, I do pray you mourn and weep at the tomb. Expectant that Jesus will do as He promises: raise your life from the dead.
How does this post resonate with you? Have you experienced such a time of grieving? Lost hope?