Tuesday, May 12, 2020

When All Hope Seems Lost

By: Rebekah Hargraves

Photo Courtesy Of: Luis Galvez

It was the preparation day, and the Sabbath was about to begin. The women who had come with him from Galilee followed along and observed the tomb and how his body was placed. Then they returned and prepared spices and perfumes. And they rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment.

                                                                                                      —Luke 23:54-56

I can’t imagine how the followers of Christ must have felt on that Saturday, that dark day after the crucifixion and before the resurrection. It was a dark in-between day. The gruesome scene of Calvary was behind them, but the joy of Easter was as yet nowhere to be found. All they had were their memories of the past and their not-yet-fulfilled promises of the future.

Perhaps you can relate. It could be that even as you read these words you are in a dark in between of your own. Something has happened in your life, and the joys of yesterday are nowhere to be found. Far away, too, are the promises of tomorrow.

You remember the days of long ago when it felt so easy to believe in God’s faithfulness, in His trustworthy nature, in His love. You hadn’t yet endured any hard trials, you hadn’t yet borne the brunt of heartache and pain, and the darkness of this fallen world had not yet touched you in any real life-altering way.

But now it has. And the pain cuts incredibly deep into the inner core of your soul itself.

Now everything is different. Now it isn’t quite so easy to just conjure up the Bible verses you memorized in Sunday school and feel the instant comfort and hope they used to bring. Now when you think of the promises of Scripture, you feel as if they are almost mocking you, dangling the carrot of hope and good news in front of you, but with no hope for your ability to reach out and grasp them for yourself.

That is quite likely exactly how the disciples were feeling on the Saturday of Holy Week. And, as it turns out, they weren’t the only ones. Years and years before, the Israelites had felt that very same in-between feeling, that same struggle to hold on to hope when all hope seemed to be lost.

We’re all likely familiar with the promise of Jeremiah 29:11; after all, we see it printed everywhere we turn:

“For I know the plans I have for you”—this is the Lord’s declaration—”plans for your well-being, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

But what you may not realize is that at the time in which this promise was proclaimed to God’s people, they were yet in their own hard and dark in-between season.

Gone were the days of enjoying the promised land of milk and honey. They were now embarking on seventy years of captivity in the land of Babylon. That is the dark season in which they find themselves when God utters this promise to them.

Somewhere during those long seventy years (much lengthier than one twenty-four hour Saturday!), God’s promise must have felt like nothing more than a bunch of empty words all strung together. But they learned what we, too, must remember to be true: “The Lord does not delay his promise, as some understand delay” (see 2 Peter 3:9).

God always fulfills His promises, and there is always a reason for the precise timing in which He chooses to do so. It’s not an easy road to walk, this in-between season of darkness. But it will not last forever. It will not go on indefinitely. Resurrection is right around the corner.

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