Jessica Albritton, Family Connections Minister, LHBC
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
The other day I was talking with some high school students about their history class. They are studying major world events and just went over 9/11. For them it is a page in a text book, a piece of history before they were even born. I sometimes forget that the younger kids didn’t live through 9/11, didn’t see the tragedy unfold before their eyes like I did. They began to tell me of all they had learned in class about the attacks. The deep pain and suffering that resulted from the attacks, but also the good comradery they learned bloomed in the days following. I began to think back on that dark day in history. The deep seated grief that came about the nation, the hopelessness that the situation brought, the uncertainty of the times. Would they attempt again? Will the economy collapse? Will we go to war? What will this mean for the future? For me, 9/11 was one of the darkest days in history and I can remember the feelings like it was yesterday.
The whole conversation got me thinking of other dark days in history. If you do a quick google search for darkest/saddest days in history you will be flooded with lists of events that are incredibly heartbreaking along with the reasons that make them so sad. But the descriptions of those events are very matter of fact. Heartbreaking details of the events followed by harrowing stories of people stepping up and the good that came in the aftermath. Looking back at events like 9/11 it can be easy to talk about the pain felt in the moment of the attack and the good that followed in the same breath. It’s easy to skim over the heartache. I had that same thought when reading through the last few chapters of the book of Luke. Reading chapters 22-23 only takes a few minutes, but there is a lot going on within the few pages. Jesus goes from being praised in the city to chased after in the streets. He goes from being worshiped to plotted against. The Easter story always gets me excited because it recounts the means in which we get to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus and what that means for all believers. We get to celebrate the hope we have in Jesus as well as the future we can look forward to because of the cross. But Easter is pretty morbid when you really think about it.. Jesus died, like really died. He was beaten, mocked and bruised and then hung on a cross to pay the price for your sin and mine. And it wasn’t a quick payment either. Jesus’ trip to the cross was drug out over several days and there was a lot of uncertainty leading up to it. And then when He died He was placed in a tomb for three days. So often when thinking about the gospel story, the story of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, I am tempted to breeze over the death and burial part and rush to the good part of His resurrection. The problem with that however is, when we skip the sad part and only focus on the good we miss the weight of what Jesus did for us on the cross. Good Friday is considered good now but I can only imagine the disciples and followers of Jesus not seeing it that way when Jesus breathed His last breath. I would imagine they found it the farthest thing from good. I would be willing to bet they found the three days of waiting incredibly painful and full of grief. But grief without hope is despair. Friend, I have good news, we have hope and hope’s name is Jesus!
What dark day are you walking through right now? Do you have grief that you are carrying? Does it seem like God is far away and silent? Friend, God’s activity is not limited to your awareness of His activity. The ultimate source of God’s provision is God Himself and He has promised to be with us until the very end. Rest in Him in the dark times, know that He is here and He is not leaving.
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Heavenly Father, remind me when it’s silent that You are here! Help me rest in You when the saddest days come. Lord, bring an awareness of Your presence! In Jesus name, amen!
MEMORY VERSE FOR THE WEEK:
Psalm 42:13: Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting!
Amen and Amen.