As the stone rolled over the tomb of Jesus, a deafening silence also rolled over Scripture. We are left to retreat into hiding with the disciples to only imagine the horror, grief and anguish they were experiencing. They had literally walked away from everything and followed this amazing man for the past three years. Although Jesus told them many times, the disciples did not understand that He would rise again (Luke 18:34; John 20:9). Now, He was truly dead and so was their seemingly misplaced hope. Sunday was coming, but they did not see it. The fullness of life with Jesus suddenly collapsed around them into a dark, empty cavern. What now?
Most of us are familiar with this cavern, and some of us are in one right now. That in which you had placed your full weight has caved into despair. Your hopes have been crushed and you cannot see beyond the walls of disappointment surrounding you. It’s pretty dark down there and your earthly vision is incredibly restricted. What now?
The interesting thing about caverns is that while you are in them, there’s only one way out – there’s only one exit strategy – upward toward the light. The tricky part is to remember to look up.
Jeremiah knows something about these caverns. He was called by God to preach an urgent message of impending judgment to a nation immersed in sin, and yet a simultaneous word of hope of future restoration by God’s grace. He spoke over 40 years to a nation that ultimately would not listen and was greatly persecuted by those he came to save. He is known as the “weeping prophet” because of the tears he shed as he sought to remain true to his calling.
But like lowering a strong rope down to us, listen to the voice of experience and cling to these words, “I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss. Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this…” (Lam 3:20-21 NLT). Clearly, he is in a desolate cavern and yet his eye is somehow attracted upward toward the light. On one hand he feels as though he will never forget his pain and loss while on the other hand, he is strangely moved to “dare to hope.” Don’t you love that phrase? In the Hebrew, it literally reads “make to return my heart to hope.”
Trust me, I realize how difficult it can be to “make your heart return to hope.” It’s way easier to allow your heart to be swiftly carried downstream by the prevailing current of disappointment and despair. It’s a struggle to resist the flow and turn back upstream toward hope. But it can be done – it must be done. Otherwise, where will your current course carry you? That journey does not end well. So what’s the secret? Surely, this is not an arbitrary “come on, you can do it” kind of hope?
Let’s read on: “The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning” (Lam 3:22-23 NLT).
Perhaps we are being asked to see just where our hope really lies – in what we want or in God? You and I can and should hope again by trusting in God’s heart for us and the faithfulness of His Word. In fact, Jeremiah likens His unending love, His compassion, and His mercies to the morning dew which falls anew every day. Yes, “weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5).
If you believe that Life itself sprang forth from a sealed tomb as the angel of the Lord rolled away the stone to show us what was not there, then surely you can believe that God can resurrect your hope in Him? Search the Scriptures for fresh dew, recall what He has promised, and dare to hope. Then believe in His Word and cling to it. For it is strong and He is faithful. Everyday with Jesus is Sunday.
After Jesus was raised from the dead, His disciples recalled what He had said. Then they believed the Scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken (John 2:22 NIV).
Spread the Word!
© 2016 Tim McKenzie
On Every Word Ministries