This originally appeared as a guest post here.
The thing that they didn’t believe could happen just happened, right in front of them. Jesus, who broke bread with them and washed their feet just the night before is now lifeless on the cross. Most of the disciples weren’t even there to witness it as they scattered as soon as Jesus was arrested. Peter denied knowing him, Judas is no where to be found, and Jesus is dead.
All those years they’ve walked with him and witnessed the miracles and here he is, defeated. Gone.
Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus (remember him? Mr. “How Can I Be Born Again?” see John 3:1-21) took his body down and laid him in Joseph’s family tomb. They performed all the Jewish rituals of anointing the body and wrapping him in cloth.
Because they believed that it was the end of the story, too.
The following day (Sabbath) the disciples are in hiding, afraid they will be captured and face the same fate as their beloved teacher. I can’t even imagine their grief, confusion, emptiness, and maybe even their “now what?” questioning to each other. They are not celebrating the fulfillment of the scriptures, or waiting with anticipation for Jesus to return to them.
Instead, they are drowning in the wait of the in-between.
Are you drowning in the wait of the in-between? The space between your prayers and the answer? The space between the lost and the found? The space between the vision and the reality? The space between the diagnosis and the clean bill of health? The space between the unexpected death and the heavenly reunion?
I believe in a God of the “in-between” — the place where faith is tested, revealed, and strengthened. The disciples found themselves hopeless as they hunkered down trying to plan their next move and just as Peter sank when he took his eyes off of Jesus, so we sink as well when we forget that the God we serve is most beautifully seen in the in-betweens.
There’s more to your story than just the beginning and the end. There’s a God who desperately seeks you when you’re too far from the beginning to turn around and yet you can’t see the end. The disciples knew the beginning of Jesus’ story but could not see the end—or, more likely, couldn’t believe that death was victorious, that evil had won. But hadn’t it? Was that not their Messiah lying in the tomb with the big stone in front of it? It’s easy to judge these guys in reading the scriptures because they fled, they denied, they gave up until you get honest with yourself:
How often do you flee, deny, and give up?
Yeah, me too.
But rejoice in the news that Jesus stands in the gap for us, that he fights the unseen battles, that he stomps on the adversary who is desperate for your soul. That’s the beautiful thing about Jesus: even when we lose track of him in our story, he’s still fighting for you. God is still writing your most perfect story even when you don’t want to read it.
He is the author of the in-between. Spend your in-between times seeking Him because that grave is empty, girl. Focus on the Messiah, the one who even Death couldn’t defeat.
Focus on the one who died so that you could live.