Just As He Said
We just celebrated Easter and each year the same question goes through my mind, Why weren’t the disciples camped outside of the tomb, counting down the hours until the third day? Jesus told them he was going to die and on the third day rise again, so why weren’t they waiting for it?
I suppose it’s easy to ask that on this side of the miracle. But those guys lived with Jesus, followed him, saw firsthand his miracles; why didn’t they take him at his word that he was going to rise again? After they’d seen him prove faithful time and time again, why would this time be different? Why weren’t they expectant? Why weren’t they excitedly anticipating that their friend and teacher was going to keep his promise and rise again?
If Jesus didn’t rise again, then all of his previous promises would have been completely irrelevant. But because he kept his promise and rose again to be fully alive, we can take him at his word and completely trust him. He is faithful. He is trustworthy.
In these days after Easter I’ve found myself thinking a few things that perhaps the disciples thought in the wake of their friend’s gruesome death.
We sold everything for this. We left behind friends and family for this. We left our jobs for this. And now what?
“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him. (Matthew 4:19)
They left it all! The disciples dropped their nets “at once” and followed Jesus. Their jobs, their livelihood, all that was familiar and all that they knew, they left at once to follow Jesus. They had a pretty good ride. They saw Jesus heal the sick, calm a storm, cast out demons, raise a dead girl to life, feed 5,000 people with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish, walk on water, and more. But the last thing they saw was Jesus being brutally crucified.
Now what? We gave up everything for this guy and now it has all blown up in our face!
I remember sitting in the park, post soccer game, talking and waiting for our open house to end so that we could go back home to shower and get a cold drink. “Is selling the house the right thing? Should we hold onto it and rent it just in case?” But I’ll never forget Roger’s tear filled eyes as he looked at me and said, no, we need to burn the ships. He explained that he often had a back-up plan, a “just in case” plan. But this time was different. This time he felt like he needed to go all in and totally trust God with what He was calling our family to. No back-up, just look forward and follow hard.
Now what? We gave up everything for this and now it feels like it has all blown up in our face! Sure, we had a good ride for about 9 months. We saw God prove faithful time and again as He provided all of our funding through generous supporters. We had multiple offers on our home within 24 hours and closed over asking price. We’ve seen patients healed and crew members come to follow Jesus for the first time! But the last thing we saw was and empty dock and an exhausted, tear filled crew as we pulled away before our service was finished. Senegalese people left without surgeries they were promised. Day Crew now without jobs. Now what?
In these days of quarantine in Tenerife we’ve all rested a lot, trying to recover from the impossible task of packing up the dock and the hospital to pull out of Dakar as soon as possible. We’ve cried and processed the difficult conversations of telling many patients that they would not be receiving the surgeries they had been promised. And we’ve grieved the abrupt end to relationships as crew members left suddenly to get back to their home countries before more boarders closed – will we ever see them again? We’ve grieved our beloved Senegalese Day Crew that quickly became family to us that we didn’t even get to say good bye to as it was a weekend when they were told not to return to work on Monday. It has been a whirlwind of grief. Loss of dreams. Loss of plans. Loss of jobs. Loss of relationships.
Now what? Our 14 day quarantine ended Tuesdayday. Even though Spain is still shut down, some governments are repatriating their people and crew are slowly starting to work on flights home. Where will we go? For how long will we be gone before our next field service can start and we can get back to West Africa? If we’re back in the States for an extended period of time, we’re going to need to get jobs to afford to live. How is that going to happen in the midst of a pandemic? It feels like this whole thing has blown up in our face.
And then Easter. Back to my yearly question – why weren’t the disciples anxiously awaiting the resurrection of their friend, just like he had promised? Why didn’t they trust him?
Jesus Has Risen
After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.
Just as he said! Just as he said! Let that sink in. I feel like it was a bit of a smack down from the angel. Why are you crying? Why are you confused? Didn’t you trust this man with your life? Didn’t he provide for you and take care of you and reveal the power of God to you time and time again? He told you this would happen, and He told you that He was going to rise again. Remember? He keeps his word. He is trust worthy. Now quit your crying and go spread the word of the great faithfulness of our God! Jesus is alive, JUST AS HE SAID!
He keeps his promises. He did then and because He’s alive today, He still keeps His promises. So quit your crying Raeanne and believe that He’ll do it again! The same God that spoke to your family to go to serve with Mercy Ships, the same God who made a way and provided all that you needed to be there, the same God that equipped your family with every good gift to accomplish His purposes on the ship… that same God will keep His promises and continue to provide for your family. Even though you’re still in the season of grieving outside the tomb and asking what in the world are we going to do now? Just hold on a little bit longer, the third day is dawning and He’s going to reveal Himself, just as He said.