Deep, excruciating grief. That’s how I imagine Jesus’ disciples felt the day after they watched their Savior die.
Savior. Perhaps they weren’t even able to call Jesus a Savior on that Saturday. They pictured a mighty king sweeping in to conquer their enemies and rescue them. Instead, their Savior died.
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." - John 16:33
Defeated and disappointed. Perhaps even a bit betrayed. Where is this peace you promised, Jesus? Overcome the world? The world just murdered you! They believed Jesus was the one who would make everything right again… and then they watched him die an excruciating death. When the mockers told Jesus to prove them wrong and come down from the cross, did the disciples secretly beg him to come down too? Or did they even believe that was possible? Was the one they loved really gone forever?
Loved. The disciples loved Jesus and he loved them. He was their teacher and they deeply loved him. They did not understand what was happening. The one person they had come to rely on had been taken from them. My heart breaks with their unimaginable grief.
All of these feelings in the In Between. And they were forced to rest. It was the Sabbath so they could do no work. They could not keep busy. Instead, they had to think about it. They had to feel the full weight of it all. Grief, defeat, disappointment, betrayal, sadness, love. They had to just sit… and wait.
Sometimes I have a vision of the way Jesus will rescue me and he doesn’t do it. I am disappointed and deeply grieved. The In Between is hard. It’s amazing how tiring just sitting and waiting can be. I’m tired of getting my hopes up for something that doesn’t happen. And I am often just forced to rest and think about it, to feel the full weight of it all. I’m tempted to give up hope. I’m not proud to say there are times I have given up hope.
But I know something the disciples didn’t understand. I know how the story ends. I know my Savior is not dead, but alive. I know my grief will turn to joy. I will forget this anguish because Jesus has overcome. I have hope in the In Between. Jesus always does the best things for us, no matter how painful, even unt0 death.
"I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you. Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy." - John 16:20-22
I’m sure many of you are right here with me, begging Jesus to come back, on your faces in agony, pleading with him to end the waiting. We miss our Home, the physical presence of our Friend, and the comfort of unspeakable Joy. I grieve with and for you too. The In Between is hard. The full weight of it all overwhelms. But sometimes we have to feel the full weight of the pain to understand the fullness of the Joy. We will get through it together. Because we know the outcome. Take heart. Take Jesus’ heart. He is the strength of our hearts. He has not betrayed us and he is not defeated! Joy is coming and won’t ever be taken away. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
I Wait For You God, remember when You said you'd lift my head Well, I'm bowed to the ground In wait for you God, you promised good As only you could Oh but God, where are you now? I wait for you. How long will I wait? How much more can I take? Oh God, do you hear my cries? Oh God, help me lift my eyes I wait for you. God, you said you'd fight If I would just hold tight Well, my strength is wearing thin I wait for you God, you said you'd be A shield around me But I'm bruised and broken down I wait for you. How long will I wait? How much more can I take? Oh God, do you hear my cries? Oh God, help me lift my eyes I wait for you. God, I do believe That you're still holding me And this desert path I walk I walk with you God, until the day You reveal to me your ways I will thank you for the gift Of waiting for you. There's beauty in the wait So I will give you praise Oh God, you will be my strength Through the land of suffering I will count all the blessings And know that there's meaning In waiting for you. Oh God, I know you hear my cries Oh God, help me lift my eyes While I wait for you.