The air is stifling in this small room filled with His followers. My hair sticks to my forehead and my garments are damp from sweat. The smell of fear in the air is overwhelming my senses and preventing me from getting any rest from my spot against the wall. I ease myself up into a standing position and peek out the window and scan the sky for stars, attempting to find some sort of solace and hope from the horrific events I witnessed today. But the sky seems dark and empty much like it did right after He died and the world went dark and shook in it’s anguish. How can He be dead? How? I thought He was going to make a difference in this world. It’s why I left my family and followed Him everywhere He went. Was this all for nothing? All these months of travel? Sitting at the feet of a man whose eyes seemed to read your entire soul in one glance. I’d never felt so loved as in His presence and now He is gone. Watching them crucify Him was like having my heart ripped from my body. And yet He still had looks of love for all those around him. Now his body is sitting in a guarded tomb. Guarded? Where do they think a dead body is going to go? A few of us ladies are going tomorrow to anoint his body if we can make it past the guards. I sigh long and deep. I have no idea what will come next. Will we all be arrested and killed for being His followers? Do I try to return home to the mocking stares of my friends and family that say I told you were crazy for following that nut? Is there any point at all to go on living? The deepest of despair wraps me in it’s cloak as I squat back down among all His gathered followers and try to figure out my next move.
I have so much empathy for Jesus’ followers following his crucifixion. The fear and anguish must have been incredible. The confusion and hopelessness. I have walked through my own darkest nights. Devoid of the stars. Devoid of hope and peace. Wondering what on earth there could be left to live for. Demanding answers from what felt like a silent Jesus. ” Jesus, I have tried with everything in me to follow you. This isn’t what was supposed to happen. It’s not fair. Are you even here? Do you even care about me at all?” I would weep in the despair of it all. I had lost sight of something that his followers would only learn in a few days. Jesus didn’t stay in the tomb. He died yes, but he didn’t stay in the grave. He rose again, victorious. He conquered death so that I may live. He conquered death so that I may experience the intensity of his love for me. So that I may know hope. But in the darkest night, all of that seems so very far away.
Do you know anyone living through their own darkest night? I challenge you to walk beside them in empathy and love and see hope for them until they can see it for themselves. Be Jesus with skin on to the lonely and brokenhearted. Try to avoid all the trite phrases that we tend to use with the hurting. “God won’t give you more than you can handle”God is in control” . Just be with them. Loving them through the pain of the darkness. Dawn is coming and amazing things can happen when the Son rises…….