I wonder if the disciples reveled at the crowds’ response as Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. Their Lord was finally getting the honor and respect He deserved. As the crowd called out “Hosanna! Hosanna!”, perhaps they straightened their stance. They were, after all, His right-hand men. All they had done for God was finally being recognized. I’m sure the sun seemed to shine a little brighter that day.
Little did they know a darkness would completely cover the land five days later. And where were they when the darkness came? Only one, John, was found at the foot of His cross. Only God knows the emotions that plagued their heart – shame, fear, hopelessness…
The sun was shining a little brighter in Idyllwild the first weekend in March. I was blessed to lead 20 women and girls in a retreat about being A Girl on Fire for God. My heart was full to witness mothers and daughters worship and study together, ladies and girls ministering to one another, the body of Christ truly becoming one. It was a sweet and beautiful time.
I came down the mountain on fire for God. My direction and calling were renewed. Life was good and I was praising God, ready to accomplish anything He called me to do.
Then the pain hit.
They say after an accident as serious as the one I had been in, symptoms can continue to appear up to four weeks later. I’ve dealt with pain. A lot of it for many years. But to be completely honest, this pain threw me for a loop. First, it was in my shoulder and neck. Then, my arm and hand. Finally, it traveled to my head. Doctors often ask “On a scale of 1-10, how bad is your pain?”
I’d have to say at times it was a 15.
There I was after being pain-free for four months, feeling beyond miserable. I’d like to say I praised God in my storm. I wish I could tell you my heart was filled with hope. The truth? After two weeks of this rotating and seemingly endless pain, frustration, anger, and despair found it’s way in my heart.
I imagine Peter faced frustration with himself after denying Christ three times. Maybe shame kept him from going to Jesus as He died on the cross. Despair overtook Mary at the thought of her stolen Savior when she saw the empty tomb. Sometimes we have just been through so much, we forget to look up.
The first week I held to my belief that God could and would heal me any day, any minute. I held fast to His word the second week. Even the third week, I cried out for His help. Week four left me hopeless and in despair.
One of my sweet friends from Bible study encouraged me in all the right ways. She said the scripture that applied. She spoke of remembering His faithfulness. I know He is always faithful, but a person can only take so much disappointment. One can only face so many trials and endure so much pain until hopelessness sets in.
Maybe you are at that point. The point of exhaustion, the point of breaking. The cheers and victorious cries of yesterday have given way to the trials and tribulations of today. I’m sure that’s how Mary felt. Until Jesus spoke.
He didn’t say “I’m here!” or “Don’t be afraid”. He spoke her name. He knew what she wanted most. She wanted her Lord, her Savior, by her side. He made good on His promise to never leave or forsake her.
As I’ve read the events of Passion week I’ve been reminded there is no point of breaking with Christ. I hurt, but He hurt more so He can sympathize with all my pain. This world may be hard, but He died for me so one day I can live with Him in paradise. My body may be failing, however, in Him I am a new creation.
Every day is hard, so I read more of His word, pray more for His people, and hold tightly to His promises. The promise that He will work all things for my good. The promise that in Him I have a hope and a future. The promise that the peace of God will guard my heart and mind when I pray. Oh, friend, whatever situation you are going through, you can be assured His promises are true. He suffered and bled and died on a cross to show His devotion and love to you. Why would He turn His back on you now? Let the God who resurrected Himself from the grave resurrect hope in you today.
What do you need to trust God for? What promise do you need to cling to? I will pray for you, my friend, as I know you will pray for me. And one day we will see His glory.