Sunday, April 16, 2006

fulfilled

He had told them. He really had. All of it. He had been quite clear, in his somewhat obscure kind of way. The misunderstandings. The mistreatment. The beating. The crucifixion. The death. The resurrection. He had told them all, but they hadn’t believed.

Few, if any, truly understood this man from Nazareth. Few, if any, grasped his mission in the days before its fulfillment. They saw him as they wanted to see him. A king. A leader. A revolutionary. They looked to him to set them free from the oppression of Rome. He appeared to have failed. But they had forgotten what he told them.

Now they were alone. Grieving. Confused. In fear for their lives. He was gone, and with him all their hopes and dreams. What would they do now? Shock. Disbelief. Denial. It was not supposed to happen this way.

Or was it? The words he had spoken were washed from their memories—a watershed of tears brought on by the events of the last few days. Promises seemingly unfulfilled swirled in rapid whirlpools within their minds, threatening to sweep away belief and drag it under. They had trusted and believed, but in what? In him, or in what they thought of him? He had told them—did they not hear, or did they simply not believe?

In rare moments of honesty I recognize I am no different from these fragile-minded fools—hiding away in my self-pity, grieving in my forgetfulness the loss of an ill-conceived dream while behind heavily-guarded stones heaven turns hell on its heels. Quick to doubt, quick to fear, quick to flee. Which of us do I describe? For like them, I forget—in the dark of suffering’s night—what I have been told.

And like his first followers, I, too, stand bewildered where a boulder should be, dumbfounded by the emptiness of the tomb. I feel Mary’s confusion and fear, Peter’s skepticism and anticipation. I hear in Thomas’ voice my own, saying, "Unless I see … I will not believe it." And I feel my own cheeks flush when Christ appears, responding, “blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

He told them. He told us all. Pages of promises and prophecies—fulfilled in our sight—and yet some of us still do not believe until our eyes have beheld and our flesh has felt and our feeble minds have formulated the necessary evidence. We misunderstand and we misinterpret and we make Christ into what we want him to be—then panic when all does not go as we think it should, fleeing in fear and disbelief as if we’ve never heard the Word of God.

But there is a blessing that comes from believing that extends beyond our circumstances. Life conquers death. Hope conquers despair. Joy conquers fear. Belief conquers doubt. As it is written, so it comes to pass. Promises and prophecies—fulfilled.

The tomb is empty—he stands now before us with nail-pierced hands. The divine “I told you so.” The question is, will we believe?

John 20: 24-29

4 comments:

lorie said...

I wrote this for our Lenten Devotional booklet that is passed out to our congregation for Holy Week. This reading was for Easter Sunday (today, obviously). Thought I'd share it...

Anonymous said...

"Life conquers death. Hope conquers despair. Joy conquers fear. Belief conquers doubt."

Those are rather thought provoking sentences.

Overall, very well written and happy easter!

angie

michaela said...

lori,
i love this...good stuff..but this is so off the subject but can i say i lovvvved your one "the diffence between my husband and i" that was soooo funny and such good writing girl!!! oh my gosh you decribed that cheesecake like it was your soul salvation....!!!! so funny...happy easter Chica!
michaela

lorie said...

angie- thanks! hope you had a good easter!

michaela- what do you mean? it WAS my soul salvation!!! (:))