Have you ever felt that everything was going really well, things were comfortable and you could see the future was rosy, only to have everything change in a heartbeat, the bottom fallen out of your world, and everything seem hopeless again?
I imagine that is exactly how the disciples felt on what we now call Good Friday, over two thousand years ago.
Life was tough. The Romans were in power, and there didn’t seem to be any way out. There was no way that any of them could see to change things. I imagine that they had decided that the best way was to keep their heads down and just get on with what they did best, whether that be fishing or collecting taxes. Not being noticed was the order of the day.
Then Jesus came along, and everything changed. Their lives were flipped upside down. None of it made any sense at all, but they all knew, deep inside that they would never be the same again. They knew they had found the promised Messiah. He didn’t act like they had expected, in fact he was so completely different to the deliverer that was anticipated that many who saw Him didn’t recognise Him. Those that did though, those that simply followed when He asked were changed, and in turn, change history.
They knew that as long as Jesus was there everything would be ok. For everything that they didn’t understand, He did. They knew Jesus was the answer.
And then He was gone.
A late night walk in a garden after dinner and everything had gone wrong. In a heartbeat. A rushed trial, a crucifixion and a quick burial.
How did this fit into His plan? None of it made any sense. Locked away, scared of reprisals due to association with Jesus. Just trying to figure out what happened, and what would happen next.
Of course we have the advantage of knowing the next part of the story. It’s Friday but Sunday is coming. For the disciples though, there was only confusion. And hurt. And loss. And probably a fair helping of anger.
Many, if not all those who read this will be familiar with this story.
How many of us are able to see our own lives in this though?
Have you just begun to get it together and suddenly things change?
In 2011 life was good. I was experiencing things I hadn’t even dreamed possible. The stuff we read about in Acts was happening in front of me. God had never seemed so close.
And then cancer hit my family. And then an artery in my stomach burst.
Where was God in all that? The answer to all my questions seemed to have left the building. If I’m honest, without the hindsight how the Easter story ends I’m not sure how I would have coped. I really would have lost all hope, all trust in the One who had promised never to leave me yet appeared to have done just that.
The fact is, He never did leave; but He did encourage me to find Him in what was happening. You see, there was a plan. If He had told me what it was I would have avoided it at all costs. Trust me, if you can avoid it don’t burst an artery in your stomach. But would I change what He taught me through that experience? Never.
Did he orchestrate it- I don’t believe He did. Did He use it – absolutely.
What is my point?
Whatever you are experiencing this Easter is only a part of the journey. I’m not saying it doesn’t hurt. I’m not saying that I understand – but I do know, from personal experience that there is a Sunday after the pain of Friday. There may be tears in the night but joy comes in the morning.
When your world is imploding, trust in the one who has held you thus far. Look for Him in the midst of it all.
There is a plan – and Sunday is coming.