I often wonder if I had lived in biblical times which camp I would have been in throughout the events of redemptive history. If I were just in the crowd, how would I have behaved?
Would I have scoffed at Noah and called him insane? Would I have complained and doubted Moses on the way to the Promised Land? Would reports of giants have been enough to convince me we had somehow misinterpreted God’s promise? Would I have been tempted to put my faith and hope in my king rather than my God? Would the allure of Babylon or fear of persecution have been too much for my resolve, causing me to bow down to their idols in worship? Would I have had any desire to be a part of the rebuilding of Jerusalem, or would I have been perfectly content in my new comfort zone of captivity? Would I have recognized Jesus as Messiah, or seen him as crazed with delusions of grandeur? Would I have begged for the release of Barabbas, and shouted “crucify him!” for the King of the Jews?
I wish I could say with confidence that I knew I would have been on the right side of history regardless of when God plopped me into the story. But I’m not. In fact, I’m increasingly grateful that God saw fit to graciously allow me to live this side of the resurrection and with the gifts of the completed Scriptures and the Holy Spirit to guide me.
Because the truth is, even with the Word of God and the Holy Spirit-I doubt. By the grace of God that doubt becomes less frequent and shorter lived the longer I walk with Him, but I still catch myself doubting from time to time.
Recently, my husband and I bought a home. It was an arduously long process, and one that was full of emotional highs and lows.
We quickly found a house we loved in a neighborhood we were excited to see our kids grow up in! We went into the process asking the Lord to help us trust Him regardless of the outcome. We let Him know our desires for this particular house, but also that at the end of the day, our greatest desire was to be in His will and to honor Him in the process.
There were days when my husband would become weary of the process, and I would be able to remind him that God was just as in control when the circumstances looked bleak as He was when things seemed picture-perfect. There were other days when I would lose my resolve, and he would be the one to remind me where my hope resided.
I remember one day, vividly, because God continues to bring it to my mind even now when I’m tempted to take my eyes off Him and place them on my circumstances. I was driving home and got a phone call from our lender. Another roadblock. More specifically, another roadblock that was a result of an error made by someone we were dependent on to get something done. I hung up the phone and began to pray. As I prayed, all I had left to say was how frustrated I was that we could lose this house all because of one person’s incompetence!
As quickly as I could voice that complaint, the Lord spoke into my spirit and reminded me that this person sitting behind a desk somewhere was not powerful enough to knock Him off His throne! Did I really think He was so small and impotent that someone doing their job poorly would be enough to thwart His plans? He reminded me that as long as we were walking in obedience and genuinely seeking to honor Him, whether or not we got this house would not be dependent on the actions of flawed humans.
Had He not parted the sea? Had He not opened Sarah’s womb in her old age? Had He not raised from the dead on the third day and ascended into Heaven?
And if He could do all of these things, how could I begin to think that someone’s incompetence or laziness would be enough to limit Him in my circumstances?
As I contemplate Good Friday, I can’t help but wonder again what the events of the crucifixion would have done to my resolve. After Jesus breathed His last breath, and I watched them carry Him off to be prepared for burial, would I have had the slightest hope that He would actually return? Or would His death bring into question everything I had believed in up to that point? Would I have lived those three days in hopeful expectancy, or would my faith have been shaken to its core?
The Easter season can serve as a reminder to us for many things. One of those reminders is that regardless of how insurmountable, how bleak, how strange, how dark, how final our situation appears God is not limited by our circumstances!
I think about the mourning and despair Jesus’ followers must have experienced over those three days. We know they did because of their reactions when He returned! As best we can tell, this was not a group of people who were hopeful and expectant to see their Savior risen-as He said He would!
What if they had actually believed Jesus at His word? What if those three days had been spent in hopeful expectancy that Jesus had done and was going to continue to do the very things He had promised?
We are in a “three days” of our own as we walk this earth… the already and the not yet. What if we actually believed God at His word? What if we spent our lives in hopeful expectancy that Jesus accomplished the things He said He did, and that God would be faithful to complete the good work He had begun in us?
How might our lives look different if we actually believed that He was “able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we could ask or think…”?
That is my prayer this Easter season. As I reflect on the sacrifice of Good Friday, and the victory of Easter Sunday…I pray that God would help me to believe Him just as fully in the waiting as I do in the receiving!