Living in the Tension of Death

by Amanda Held

We will never be able to experience Good Friday as the disciples did.

We can call it "Good" Friday because we know the end of the story-that after three days, Jesus was alive again.

I never realized until someone pointed it out to me that the disciples had absolutely no hope of resurrection in their minds. Because they were so dense, (as dense as I am most of the time) and did not understand the teachings of Jesus concerning His death, the crucifixion seemed to be the end of the story, the failure of the Messiah, of maybe even God Himself. For years, they had given their lives for this man and His purpose. And now it was over and utterly unsuccessful.

I remember my grandfather's funeral, the finality of it all. Nothing in me entertained the possibility of him climbing up out of that coffin. We laid flowers and drove away, never to see him again. Such is death.

Our inability to recognize and live in the knowledge of the end of the story, failure to see the big picture-this, in my opinion, is what usually lies at the heart of our despair. The disciples were lost, caught up in the darkness and hopelessness of the moment. Like them, blind to the wonderful work God is doing in His own time, I am a slave to the immediate. What is going on, what I am feeling in this immediate moment, often takes on the guise of eternality. It looms and threatens with the lie that this is all there is, that my whole life will be this way. It becomes my entire story.

I often wonder why God waited those three days. Wasn't Jesus simply aching to get out of that grave? Perhaps God wanted to teach the disciples something about living in the tension of uncertainty. They needed to learn trust the hard way, needed to learn how to find hope in a hopeless situation. Indeed, they were completely shocked by the resurrection, as shocked as I would be if my grandfather came walking through the door.

It was so unbelievable to them that Thomas even insisted on touching the scars before he accepted it. I, too, am astounded when God works miracles in my life, when He resolves difficult situations, or brings me out of sadness. I get so caught up in the fear of the moment that I can't even believe it when the storm clears. The thing is, He never does it on my time or in the way I would have expected. You see, God has a much greater purpose than my comfort and a much better story to tell with my life than one of ease and profit.

This year, I encourage you to consider the Saturday between Crucifixion Friday and Resurrection Sunday. Perhaps it is very familiar to you. Perhaps it is much like the place you are walking through right now in your life. What does God have to teach you before He rolls that stone away? Most of all, remember that you know the end of the story. He is risen! There is victory in Christ!

Amanda Held is a singer and songwriter who lives in Nashville, Tenn.

2011 Disciple 155x50 2011 AMG 155x50
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