One beautiful aspect of the Easter story is that we know, without a doubt, how the story ends. Each Good Friday, as we remember Jesus’ gruesome, painful death and suffering, we know that within a few days He rose again. This comfort provides us with confidence when we read again how an innocent man was taken prisoner. It is because of the assurance of His love that we are able to recall the horror of the scourging at the hands of the Roman soldiers. We want to turn away as the nails are pounded into hands that reach out for us, but understanding He took this punishment for us gives us the strength to watch. In thinking on the moment when Jesus cried out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:34) we are reassured that Jesus was disowned by the Father so that we could be accepted.
On Resurrection morning, all those years ago, the disciples did not have the same confidence. They chose to lock themselves in a room and lament over what could or might become of them. They were full of fear even though they had Jesus’s own promise beforehand, “You will weep and be overcome with grief over what happens to me. The unbelieving world will be happy, while you will be filled with sorrow. But know this, your sadness will turn into joy when you see me again!” (John 16:20, TPT). This is a stark reminder of how foolish it can be to give ourselves over to anxiety and stress when we have so many of the Savior’s assurances for our tomorrow.
We have the gift of God’s Word, just as the disciples heard it; of His promise, “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NASB). Jesus overcame sin and death in order to set us free from fear during the storms we will endure. But, we are never left alone in our troubles! Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father, interceding for us. He also sent to us a divine Helper, the Holy Spirit, to offer encouragement and guidance (John 16:7). Following Jesus does not change the fact that we will struggle in this corrupt world, instead it means that we have the choice to accept His help in facing, and rising above our troubles.
It often seems easier to run from difficult things… to lock the door and avoid the pain of facing our fears. If we stay there, we deny the Holy Spirit access to do a work in us. Here we choose to not believe Jesus’ promises. Here we deny God any glory in His triumph as we stay locked in the tomb instead of rising with Jesus. What are we waiting for? Yes, one day we will get to live in Paradise, but if Jesus meant for us all to be saved from fear and troubles just to get to Heaven then He would not have sent a Helper, He would not have to be an Intercessor, He would not have promised us hope and joy in the midst of the storms in this life. He wants us to live a resurrected life NOW.
And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us (Romans 5:3-5 NKJV).
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Until Every Tribe Has Heard