This has been an eventful Easter weekend. We officially celebrate life on the positive side of resurrection Sunday. Because of the empty tomb, we have hope for being rescued from sin and despair, and ultimately from death itself.
But on Good Friday, hope was fleeting. Even upon the cross, Jesus famously quoted from Psalm 22, saying, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” I’m pretty sure that hope vanished for his followers as he breathed his last. They watched the skies darken, the earth shake and rocks break.
Somewhere in the gloom and doom of the moment, dreams were destroyed. Fear took over. Everyone went into hiding, and no one knew who to call for rescue. The next part of that Psalm quoted by Jesus goes on to say:
“Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from my cries of anguish?
My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
by night, but I find no rest.” (Psalm 22:1-2)
Many visitors to this site know the personal pain of losing a loved one. Each story is unique, but each has in common the permanent scars that come from indescribable open wounds. In those dark moments hope seems lost. Rescue seems far away. It’s easy to feel forgotten, abandoned and maybe even betrayed by the very God who gave us hope in the first place.
“What strength do I have, that I should still hope?
What prospects, that I should be patient?” (Job 6:11)
When Elijah was missing for the two weeks before his body was discovered in the frozen woods behind our home, our family held onto hope that God would rescue him. We suffered through seven different police searches of those woods using specialized dogs, helicopters and professionals trained in rescue. Our hope was to rescue Elijah. We couldn’t imagine the effort becoming one of recovery.
Here’s a secret that you should never find out the hard way: Grieving the loss of a loved one is not the only loss over which we grieve. We actually grieve the loss of hope. In our case, we lost the hope of rescue. But if you’ve lost a loved one “before their time”, you grieve the loss of everything you hoped for their life. Our hopes and dreams for Elijah were gone in an instant with the gut wrenching news that his body was recovered in those woods. Not rescued. Recovered.
“If only my anguish could be weighed
and all my misery be placed on the scales!
It would surely outweigh the sand of the seas—
no wonder my words have been impetuous.” (Job 6:2-3).
But there is another deep secret that God reveals through these tragic events. Perspective.
Have you ever looked through the wrong side of a pair of binoculars? You’ll know how small, narrow and far away everything looks. But in moments of grief and loss, it’s as though God reaches down, gently turns the binoculars around the correct way and hands them back to us. The things that seemed so distant are now close enough to almost touch.
We have re-evaluated what it is we hope for. Elijah had a saving relationship with the Lord and a fervent faith that is even today reaching hundreds of thousands. We miss him like crazy, but now our hope is for a heavenly reunion.
The binoculars allow us to see those distant things more clearly. Even God Himself, who once seemed so far away, is closer than we have ever before experienced.
We were hoping for rescue. Instead, God rescued our hope!
Please ‘like’ and ‘share’ this post as you find it helpful and inspiring. Thank you.
Many years ago, I was a patient at Midway hospital, Melanie was my nurse. When your first daughter was born, she sent me a photo of your darling baby. Those days in the hospital were long and tedious, but Melanie made the days so much easier. I thank God for sending Melanie into my life. I have not forgotten the beautiful nurse with the long golden yellow hair, beautiful eyes, and the love and care that she gave to her patients.
Gratefully , Frannie