I woke up early on Sunday morning, my eyes still swollen with the tears from the middle of the night before, my husband’s words of consolation still echoing in my ears…
“We lost a baby, my love. Our lives will never be the same.”
I miscarried our fifth baby on March 12. For two weeks, I cried. For two more weeks, I tried to “keep it together”…to get things done…to not cry…but cool, calm, and collected was really only distant and numb, and the four precious children that I still have the privilege and responsibility of caring for here on the this earth were paying the price. And so in the dark, in the middle of the night, the night before Resurrection Day, the tears came.
Holy Week is usually one of my favorite times of year. You can keep the bunnies, plastic grass, eggs, and chocolate (well, maybe not the chocolate), but give me Jesus! So why, I wondered, this year, when I have felt my acute sense of needing Him the most, have I felt the least like celebrating? As I wept that night, I wept for so much more than my lost baby. I wept for the lost and dying world that I must live in. I wept for my own sin…for my lack of worship…for my lack of joy…for my inability to see the purpose in it all.
“Please, LORD, if nothing else, prepare my heart to worship You tomorrow…”
I woke the next morning when it was still dark, and I remembered the woman who had also awakened before dark to come to Jesus’ grave. What must their Saturday night have been like? Desperate? Hopeless? Tearful? Could they think of anything more than the finality of death? Of the stone-sealed tomb? What about the disciples? Could the darkness of the night have been as dark as the shadow hanging over their souls? Could they possibly see through the depth of their grief to the joy that was to come?
I have been reading the Bible since I learned how to read. I know the Gospel accounts. When I read about the burial of Christ, my mind doesn’t camp out there for too long, because I know what happens next. I mentally “skip to the end”. But yesterday morning, I allowed myself to dwell there for a moment. That Sabbath must have been the longest, darkest day of their lives. Not only that, but they did not have any expectation that the darkness would lift. They weren’t looking forward to an Empty Tomb and a Risen Savior the next morning, as we do when we read our Bibles and remember the events. They were living this in “real time”. Maybe someday, hopefully, life would get back to “normal”, but all their hopes that Jesus was their Messiah and King were dashed. Permanently. Forever. As they saw it. In that moment.
“But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, ‘Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.’ And they remembered his words,” Luke 24:1-8
They remembered His words.
How often do I forget His Words in the dark only to remember them again in the light? How often do I seek the living among the dead? When I think of my baby, I am sad that there is no grave for me to visit. Can I keep in the front of my mind the possibility that God wanted to create a human being that would never know tears, or heartache, or suffering, or sin–a person who would know nothing but the perfect joy of His presence–and that He simply used me as a vessel toward that end? That it’s not all about me, and I get to participate anyway? Ahh…now I’m getting somewhere.
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” Roman’s 12:1
If God had told me in advance that this was the plan…if He had sent an angel to tell me what He was going to do, would I have responded as Mary did, “May it be unto me as you have said,”? (Luke 1:38)
Can I, even now, trust and obey, repent and believe? Rest in the knowledge that His plans for me are good and not for evil? That He promises me a future and a hope? (Jeremiah 29:11) That He works all things together for good to those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose? (Romans 8:28)
No. I can’t. Not on my own. Not in my own strength. I can’t come to Him, and even if I could, I’d have nothing but sin and brokenness to offer Him. He had to come to me. It’s why Jesus became flesh and dwelt among us. It’s why He died, and it’s why he rose again. It’s all by His grace. That’s what the Gospel is all about.
He is risen.
He is risen indeed.