Grief blinds and deafens the heart. Scripture does not record many of Jesus’ followers being at the Cross…but some were there. Others perhaps buried under confusion, fear, discouragement and deafening grief fled the scene of horror. Overwhelmed by a situation they could not control, Jesus’ followers found themselves locked them in a prison of darkness. The truths they heard, the truths they believed were – for the moment – out of reach. Have you sat in darkness like that?
Take heart. Jesus anticipated that happening. Isaiah 53 speaks so beautifully of Jesus and His understanding of grief:
“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not…Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.” Isaiah 53:3,10
Jesus told them that when He, the Shepherd, was stricken, the sheep would scatter. He is never surprised by our ‘failings.’ He is never discouraged by (or for) us. His faith does not rest upon us. Jesus knows the depths of despair will give way to unshakeable hope. He knows the pleasure of the LORD will break forth.
I like to think that that evening, those who had been at the Cross found their friends and shared the passage Jesus spoke from when He said, “I thirst.” Throughout the horror, the Living Word drew upon the written Word for guidance.
“After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.” John 19:28
Fulfilling the Word compelled Jesus even in His dying moments. The vinegary drink would have helped make His final words audible: IT IS FINISHED!
Jesus didn’t die as a martyr, He died as a victor…and knew it. But some of His loved ones were blinded by grief. The passage He quoted from is an imprecatory Psalm. Those Psalms beg God for justice…they cry out the grief that blinds to the One who heals. Those Psalms confront the evil, the wrongs endured but they deliver you to victory. They take you to praise. In the dark waiting moments, consider the power of these words:
“But I am poor and sorrowful: let thy salvation, O God, set me up on high. I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving. This also shall please the LORD better than an ox or bullock that hath horns and hoofs. The humble shall see this, and be glad: and your heart shall live that seek God. For the LORD heareth the poor, and despiseth note the prisoners. Let the heaven and earth praise Him, the seas, and everything that moveth therein. For God will save Zion, and will build the cities of Judah: that they may dwell there, and have it in possession. The seed also of his servants shall inherit: and they that love his name shall dwell therein.” Psalm 69:29-36
At some point(s) in life, every disciple finds themselves in the despair of the ‘day after’ – in the darkness of waiting. In Jesus, there is Light and Hope. May we be the disciples who speak the words of hope to the deaf and the blind!
As we draw close to the glory of Resurrection, ask yourself:
• Am I stuck in a time of darkness and waiting?
• How is Jesus the Light for my time(s) of despair and confusion?
• Who needs words of encouragement in the waiting of COVID-19?