Saturday, October 22, 2016

The antidote to hopelessness

Jesus' followers were understandably devastated by His betrayal, arrest, torture, sham trials, and brutal crucifixion. Their hopes were dashed! All that they had imagined and dreamed had turned into the worst possible nightmare.

At Jesus' empty tomb (Luke 24), the angel decked out in "clothes that gleamed like lightning" challenged their despairing gloom: "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; He has risen! REMEMBER how He told you . . ."

They forgot that He had promised to rise from the dead three days after His betrayal and crucifixion. He had laid it all out for them repeatedly. Obviously they neither comprehended at the time nor remembered when it happened.

Their three days of hopeless grief were unnecessary. They could have spent those days in confident anticipation . . . if they had remembered and believed.

Remembering Jesus' promise wouldn't have made it any easier to witness what happened. It wouldn't have made it any less devastating to see what He suffered or to feel grief over His death.

But remembering His promise would have filled their grief with hope and eager anticipation.

No one can reasonably deny the reality of the pain of living in a sin-broken world. Poverty, injustice, betrayal, sickness, death, and all kinds of suffering are real and they hurt! But the Scriptures bleed with God's promise, guaranteed by Jesus' resurrection, that when He comes again, everything will be made new and beautiful. His people will live happily ever after in God's new earth and heaven.

Remembering the promise won't eliminate the pain, but it changes it. On the other side of suffering is glorious and permanent healing. Remember Jesus -- what He did for our redemption and what He promised for our future.

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