We all experience dark and trying times many times in life. During such times we may feel abandoned, hopeless, shattered, confused, and downright lost. What’s worse is that we may feel as though there is no foreseeable end to the misery we are feeling. At these moments horrible thoughts may enter our mind. Feelings of despair my blanket our thinking like a deep fog that refuses to lift. Can you relate? Then you should be able to understand how the disciples felt after witnessing Jesus being crucified on the cross.
Jesus warned his disciples what was going to happen as they headed towards Jerusalem. Even as he broke bread with them one last time, Jesus spoke of his betrayal and eminent death. Still, nobody anticipated the darkness of that moment in history. Peter tried to fight and resist the arrest of Jesus, but his efforts were futile. The inevitable was going to take place, and all the disciples could really do is standby helplessly as all their hopes and dreams were nailed to a cross. As Jesus died, so did their dreams.
But that wasn’t the end of the story. It never is. Darkness may consume us many times, but God will not let the darkness stay. The resurrection of Jesus means many things to different people, but more than anything else, in my mind, the resurrection means HOPE! It is the greatest hope that came right after the darkest time.
Hope is like the rainbow in the sky after the great storm. Its pretty bands of colors in the midst the dark gray clouds being penetrated by rays of sunlight shows the artistry of God in no uncertain terms. It’s like a town decimated by a tornado. We can all see the destruction, the lost lives, the broken dreams. But if we watch something beautiful takes place. The storm passes, the sun comes out, and people from all over come together to rebuild. Our darkest moments are so often followed the greatest periods of enlightenment. It is here we discover our greatest lessons, and experience the most intense love.
In their despair, the disciples couldn’t see the big picture. They had no idea how Jesus dying on the cross would completely change the world forever more. I want to conclude with a poem by one of my favorite artist, Lee Roberson, entitled “Hope.” Lee wrote the poem to go along with the painting by the same title which is pictured at the start of this post. It pictures an old dried up and hollowed out tree stump in a forest. The colors are muted, dreary and sad. But out of that tree stump comes a little green branch spouting leaves. I can’t think of a better way to describe hope than that. At the very moment when all seems hopeless, new life breaks forth. May it encourage you as it does me.