When God Invades Our Despair

 

Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week….

-Matthew 28:1

So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst….

-John 20:19

 

“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation,” Henry David Thoreau wrote in 1854.

My Southern-born mom put it less eloquently but more graphically on her bad days: “I’m so low I have to look up to see a snake’s belly.”

It’s hard to get much lower than the dirt. And that’s where the serpent wants us, groveling in the dust as he slithers over us.

Christians are under attack like no other time in history. There is more persecution of believers in this age than ever before. Satan roams the earth, storming homes, churches and families. He feeds on shattered lives, hearts, and relationships while he grows in insolence against heaven.

We are shaken as everything we believe is trampled under the brutality. Our trust in God’s Word faces its most severe challenge. What happened to all His promises? Where is the life of victory?

Alone, trapped in hopelessness, our people suffer in quiet despair. We can’t even understand the heartbreak happening to us, much less confess our struggles to someone else. So we hide in the darkness, convinced of the permanence of the death of our hopes and dreams.

Just like Jesus’ first disciples.

When the disciples met the Christ, the majesty and power of the carpenter ignited their imagination. They believed He was their Messiah, the King of the Jews. They followed Him, watched His miracles, listened to His word, and rejoiced. The Kingdom of God had arrived with this Deliverer.

They eagerly waited for the Anointed One to take His throne. Instead, he shocked them by dying at the hands of the executioners. All they hoped and believed died with Him

In their panic, they forgot everything He taught them. Imagining they were next to be killed and in complete despair, they trembled behind locked doors and waited to die.

Then, it began to dawn.

True to His word, Jesus rose again, conquering death in a single moment. Nothing but the graveclothes of their misconceptions remained in the tomb. The miracle of miracles shattered the desperation, killed every lie of the serpent, and raised them up out of the dirt.

Now they understood. God had planned it all. At no moment were they ever out of His hand. Even in their deepest night, He carried them toward the greater dawn of a new forever, better than anything they could have imagined. And nothing was lost except their fears.

This Easter morning, the tomb still lies empty. The risen Savior still reigns over this earth and every single moment of our lives. He will give us strength for today as He crushes the enemy under His feet through our acts of faith.

The serpent is defeated. Arise from the dirt.

Dawn is coming.

 

The Lord has risen indeed…! 

-Luke 24:34