Thanks be to God!
In the land of the living, the night of encircling gloom comes; it comes to everyone. No depth of commitment, no height of obedience can prevent the onset of that night in human experience.
And when that night comes, feeling afraid, we may draw near places of despair. This happens when we allow ourselves to dwell only in that moment, to live as captives of that moment, and we fail to scale the horizons of the dark to see the promise of the emerging dawn of God’s deliverance.
Thick darkness can never remove the gracious hand of God. It may threaten to hide that hand, to remove it entirely from sight; but it can never obliterate it. And even while we dwell in the realm of darkness, the promise of God’s liberating light can fill our hearts with the nearness of the day of victory.
Let us be careful to appreciate that the Cross of Jesus is not merely a sign of pain and suffering occasioned by sin because in it is the guarantee of victory. Because Jesus is lifted up, he draws all humankind to himself. In the arc of history, the Cross does not exist apart from the resurrection. Joy is possible in the midst of pain because Jesus is our joy. The sadness of Good Friday can subsist only where the joy of Easter is forgotten.
Soon, Easter morning comes. Full-orbed light displaces the darkness of Good Friday. What was only partly visible in the dark night of pain and disappointment now glows at the dawn of renewal. Hope springs anew; courage rises from bowels of fear for Jesus is risen! The solemn purposes of God come into fuller view. “Death is crushed to death” in order that we might enjoy the risen life of the Son of God!
This Easter day, Christians are not deceived by the darkness that threatens to trap us in a web of negativity and hopelessness. We see the power of evil even where people desperately search for signs of the victory of the good and the right. Swarming doubt and unbelief are taking hold of the human heart, filling us with a sense of the futility of life. Yet, while darkness hovers, we are not overwhelmed because, by the grace of God, we are able to escape the crippling numbness despairing times produce.
On Easter day, we affirm that Christ has died, Christ is risen, and Christ will come again. Thanks be to God!
Baptist World Alliance®
© March 26, 2013