DR. JACK GRAHAM: The Waiting of Easter
As we prepare to observe another Easter amidst a global pandemic that has claimed millions of lives, I am meditating on Jesus’ cry from the cross: “Eloi, eloi, lama sabachthani.”
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
When Jesus spoke those words, there was no audible reply from a cloud, no army of angels sent to deliver him. Just taunts from his enemies and the sobs of his mother and friends.
Jesus, the Son of God, knew why he came to earth. He knew how he would suffer. And he knew he had the power to lay down his life and to take it up again.
Still, he asked why.
And when he committed his spirit into the hands of his Father, he was laid in a tomb, dark and silent.
I take great comfort in knowing my Savior asked God why, because, like everyone else, I have asked him why at times:
“Why was my father murdered?”
“Why did you allow me to have cancer?”
“Why did you allow me to struggle with depression following my cancer diagnosis?”
I have never received an answer to any of those questions. The silence, the waiting, was agonizing, and still is even today.
But it is in the deep darkness I have learned that God does see. He does care. He hurts for his own creation, for those created in his image.
To Jesus’ mother and followers, all hope seemed lost. But between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, there was Holy Saturday. While they grieved, redemption was at work, although they didn’t know it at the time.
God was working in the waiting.
How do we know he is working? Because he is faithful to the promises he made in Scripture, from his promises to Noah after the flood, to the Israelites trekking through the desert on the way to the Promised Land, to the apostles who gave everything for the gospel.
Though we can’t see the end result, we can trust in the working and the waiting because we know in whom our hope is found.
Apostle Peter wrote of Jesus, “He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:22-23).
Jesus asked his Father why but he placed himself in his hands.
Of course, we cannot compare our experience to Jesus’. But how will our faith grow if we don’t choose to trust completely in God’s timing over our own? How will the strength of our character be refined? How will we learn to listen and wait upon God, and move when he calls us to action?
God is constructively, creatively, and compassionately working through things in this world and the circumstances of our lives at this very moment. Invisibly and invincibly, the hand of God is at work.
You may be wondering whether your struggles will ever end. But remember: with God, though your suffering is painful, your future is filled with eternal hope.
As Jesus declared to Apostle John — the only disciple present at Jesus’ crucifixion — in his exile on Patmos, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades” (Revelation 1:17b-18).
This Easter, I pray amidst all the troubles of the world, that you will come to trust God’s timing and remember the Resurrection was glorious because of the tomb.
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