I woke up this morning on April 3rd, the day before Easter, quite depressed. The weather was stormy and the clouds were the color of "Spokane" gray. I had not been around people for a few days so my energy level was dropping but I was visiting my favorite place on earth, our cabin, in Ione, Washington. I woke up early, around 5:00 a.m., so I decided to plunge into my quiet time with the Lord. I prayed that the Lord would help me to understand what the disciples and followers of Christ felt like the day after Christ died on the cross. As the day progressed I thought of the saying, "be careful what you pray for... because normally if it has to do with sanctification you are going to get an answer to your prayer." And I did.
As my day progressed the Lord made it quite clear that, compared to the original disciple, I was experiencing a significant lesser degree of emotions, spiritual and mental losses. I could never comprehend the hopelessness and the loss of a dream they experienced. Their leader, whom they followed for three in a half years, died. Their leader, in whom they dropped everything to follow, is gone. Their leader, who encouraged, taught, and they prayed with, was no longer on earth. We can see by some of their responses that they were questioning his reliability; when Peter was asked if he was with Jesus, he denied that he was a disciple.
When the disciples woke up on Saturday morning, can you imagine the weariness they experienced? I am sure they were confused and their hearts ached as they tried to make sense of what had happened. I am sure their food was tasteless and their conversations were melded together between asking why and who was this Christ? What do we do next? How do we go on?
Do you ever feel that way when you have a loss of a dream? When all hope is dashed and you are left with "why?" and "what is this all about?" How do I go on and what does going on look like?
About two in a half years ago my husband and I went through a huge loss of a dream. When the final decision was made that we were to leave the pastorate, I remember waking up the next morning asking the same questions. Why Lord? Were we out of your will? What were these past six and a half years about? What do we do next and how do we go on?
Thankfully, while the disciples were muddling through their day of hopelessness, Christ was up in heaven hanging out with God and rejoicing that Satan has been defeated and you and I can have a relationship with God through the cruel death of Jesus Christ on the cross for your sin and mine.
The thought about heaven's party and the disciples discouraging outlook led me to a comforting thought. How often do we go through a major disappointment or loss, and we think there is no hope or we can't see how God is going to heal this situation and we wonder if he even can. We wonder if a wayward son will come back to the Lord, or our daughter has chosen to make decisions that will affect the rest of her life. A spouse or a child dies and we think we can not make it through the day because the pain is so great that our heart is going to break. We have an addiction that plagues us night and day and we can't see how God will deliver us from it. Or, like what my husband and I went through, a loss of a church body that was our family whom we loved and yet had to walk away, and not only did our hearts break but our kids were devastated by the loss. The comfort is that God is doing something behind the curtain. We have no idea what the Lord is up as he makes us more like his son and brings us to a place of deeper understanding of who God is and molding us into Christ's likeness. Sometimes that is not a comforting thought, the whole sanctification thing, but it is one of our main goals in life. We are to become like Christ so that Christ can be glorified. And then, maybe, we have a new ministry that God can use that we otherwise would not be equipped or prepared to do if we hadn't gone through such a deep and hopeless loss.
Christ came back to earth and hung out with the disciples and revealed himself to some that he rose from the dead and then empowered the disciples to go to every nation and make more disciples. They also received the Holy Spirit as a helper to accomplish the work that God wanted them to do. But most importantly, their sins are forgiven and they have a relationship with God that they could never have had if Jesus stayed on earth.
I realized that God had answered my prayer regarding understanding the disciples disappointment. I was encouraged to know that whatever disappointment or painful loss I am going through, that God is doing something behind the curtain that is beyond my imagination. "But it is written, What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him: I Corinthians 2:9. So I grieve but with hope, knowing that Sunday is coming, and in the between time God is doing something amazing behind the curtain.