*This is a guest post by my friend Kim Findlay. Find her blog, books, and Bible studies on her website. *
Their steps were heavy with grief as they walked toward the tomb early that morning. Silence hung in the air between them, reminding them of their sorrow.
How could he be gone? Shock still gripped them as memories of his death plagued them—the tang of his blood lingering in the air; his body slack on the cross held up only by those dreaded nails—the gash in his side.
Mary winced as the memory of the banging hammer echoed through her heart. The hammer that struck the nails tore through his hands, his hands. Oh, how she’d wanted to grab that hammer away and tell them to stop! Hot tears fell down her cheeks as she pressed on toward the tomb.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way, her heart cried. He wasn’t supposed to die! She tried to remember the words he spoke during their time together, but there was nothing. Nothing but the horror of seeing him cry out in those final moments breath filled his lungs.
“Eli, Eli,” he’d cried, “lama sabachthani? Why have you abandoned me?”
She wanted to cry with him—Yahweh, what is happening? Why did he die? It wasn’t supposed to be this way.
Fast Forward to Today
Have you ever wondered that? Has death ever stared at you through the eyes of someone you love?
I have. In 2005, my daughter died from injuries she sustained in a fire that also destroyed our home. She was five years old.
I remember crying out to God in those earliest days of grief when the pain was raw and the tears were deep. I cried and wondered and railed against the reality of sorrow that slammed into my life . . . it wasn’t supposed to be this way.
Jesus told us this. The night before he died, Jesus sat with his disciples at the last supper, imparting final words and encouragement. Then, in John 16:33, he says, “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Just as they made it to the tomb, the ground began to shake! As if the events of the past couple of days hadn’t been enough, the very foundation they stood on trembled! The women watched as the guards shook with fear. The stone that covered the tomb began to move.
What was happening?
An angel sat on the stone, brilliant and white. They looked at one another, hearts beating fast. “Don’t be afraid,” the angel said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. But he isn’t here! He has risen from the dead, just as he said would happen.”
The women drew near to see where his body was lying —the tomb was empty! Their hearts, once filled with grief, felt as they’d explode with joy! They spun on their feet and ran from the grave. They had to tell the disciples what the angel said.
Jesus was alive?
They looked at each other as they hurried along. And then . . . they saw him. Jesus! They fell at his feet in worship. Jesus was alive! (Matthew 28:1-10)
Yes, trials and sorrows are expected here in the land of the living. Heartbreak and loss, while painful, shouldn’t shock us. They are a part of life this side of heaven, but those hardships are not the end of our story.
Consider Jesus’ words again. This verse isn’t only about embracing the reality of trials and sorrows in this world. Too often, we spend time looking at the broken pieces of our lives, praying and hoping those broken pieces will somehow be made right again that we miss a glorious truth from Jesus himself—He is victorious!
Let me declare that again—Jesus is victorious! He conquered sin and death!
“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.1 Corinthians 15:55-57
This passage isn’t a mere calling out of suffering; it declares an ultimate truth. Yes, there will be suffering, but Jesus is greater! Death does not have the final say. He is bigger! Jesus is victorious!
Did you catch that? Jesus declares victory over it all! Sin and death. Loss and sorrow. Pain and separation. What a difference it makes when we face the trials of today. Yes, life is hard, and it hurts but those feelings, and these circumstances don’t win. Jesus does.
Pray and Reflect
- John 16:33
- 1 Corinthians 15:55-57
- Philippians 2:7-11
- Isaiah 9:6-7
Think and Journal
- What sorrow do you carry today that needs Jesus’ healing touch?
- How does knowing God promised a Savior in Isaiah bring you comfort today?
- How does Jesus’ victory over death help us when we grieve the death of someone we love?
- How does knowing Jesus is victorious change the way you approach sorrow or hardship?
*This article first appeared on the Beyond Sunday blog.*