In the darkness of Good Friday, it’s hard to keep the faith. To keep trusting God has got this and let Him work it out. To keep hanging on to our faith when it looks like this is a dead-end, and all we can see is the cross. This is what we come upon in Mark 16, stark, unmoving, and no way around it.
It’s easy to ask why God has abandoned us -in the wake of broken dreams nailed to a tree, in the face of tragedy that struck out of nowhere in the breathtaking triumph of evil that leaves us speechless- as a hammer poeses to strike a nail that will pierce the Savior of the world.
The Savior of the world is hung on a tree. To the disciples- and even us if we had been there it would seem it was all over. No way around it, no way through it, this is it. The story that had started with a baby in a manger ends with a man upon a tree. Victory turns into defeat and doubt creeps in to shake everything that we believe. How do we keep trusting God in these moments where life just doesn’t make sense? When we are struggling to keep the faith and desperately clinging to our hope.
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Keep The Faith When Good Friday Looks Like The End
We know the end of the story- but His disciples didn’t have the luxury of reading ahead as we do, they had to live it and when you are in the moment, you can know all the right answers and still be battered by the storm you didn’t expect and left struggling to keep the faith.
You can still have the wind knocked from your lungs, at the finality of the ending. Friendships stripped away, family members ripped from your arms, dreams shattered and left in a place of death and destruction, an unexpected ending. You find yourself desperately trying to keep the faith as doubt screams louder in your ears.
We can’t see around the bend; we can’t see the light of Sunday while we are walking through the darkness of Friday and Saturday. All they could see is their savior, the one they had waited for, their hope, their dream for generations that had come to pass nailed to a cross. This was the end as far as they could see.
We’ve all been here, wandering in the darkness, of our own personal Friday’ when the pain is just too much, the disappointment too overwhelming and we find ourselves saying it can’t end like this... Why God?… Tell me why have you forsaken me? Why did you let it end here? It’s easy in these moments to forget that Sunday has already been promised. To keep the faith when the world looks so dark.
We don’t serve a God that is confined by endings- even the ones we didn’t see coming. No matter how dark it gets, no matter how much evil gloats at the win, Sunday is on its way. Even if the ending is written in stone, we serve a God that can roll away the stone that looks like death and resurrect what lay in ashes. It will not end like this. This is merely the end of a chapter, and sometimes God uses what we see as an ending to leave a bigger impact than we could have ever imagined.
Keep The Faith In The Storms Of Life
Where there is even a shred of light the darkness is shattered. It may look like it is over, it may look like your hope is dead. The people closest to you- the people that were supposed to love you have hurt you the most. The betrayal of a parent, the reveal of the true character in someone you thought you knew. The broken place that you just can’t fix, you’ve been trying so hard to follow Him, the best you knew how.
But now you find yourself in an unfamiliar place and what you thought was going to happen didn’t happen. The mission you abandoned the safety of the boat for has ended on the cross while “It is finished” echoes in your ears and you can’t help but wonder if you were wrong.
We like to skip to the Joy of Easter and the resurrection, to skip to the triumph and avoid trudging through the darkness. The times of pain and the disappointments of the dead places. Forward past to the places where we find ourselves lost children restored, and made new at the foot of the cross, and escape the moments as followers disappointed because our dream ended here. Everything we thought we knew, withers in this dead place and there’s nothing we can do. Our faith begins to crack and all those things we thought we conquered comes creeping back.
Keep The Faith Through The Pain
As we read through the crucifixion of Jesus in Mark 15 and slip into chapter 16 we find the women who followed Jesus on their way to anoint His body- they don’t know He’s risen, as far as they know their hope, their dream died on that cross. But here they are, returning to the place in which their hope was laid to rest. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I could have done that. I don’t think I could have come back to this place and faced the stark reality of it. Where nothing but disappointment and heartache grows. Could you go back and face the stone-cold face of truth? Your Lord, the one you have waited and pined for crucified, pierced, and laid to rest in this tomb.
When we are disappointed, it’s easy to throw in the towel and walk away, to hide like the disciples. The truth is we’re angry, and hurt that God would let it end like this. Like the little boy in the Princess Bride, we want to interrupt shouting “Hold it! You read that wrong!” it can’t end like this. So, I find the faith of these women in Mark 16 remarkable. Their actions, their ability to hold on to their faith even when it seems that all hope is lost. These women who come with oil and spices to wrap their Lord’s body, these women who are just doing the next right thing, these women who return to the tomb while everyone else is wallowing in their pain. These women remind me what it means to keep the faith.
Perhaps to keep the faith when all hope seems lost is continuing in the role that God called us to. Keep ministering, even when you feel like you are doing no good. Keep praying, even when you don’t see anything changing. Keep doing the next right thing, even when your heart is weary and broken. Even when it looks like it ends in death because we can’t see what’s happening inside that tomb, in that dead place. We don’t know that resurrection is being born in that tomb.
These women returning to Jesus’s tomb witnessed the same thing as the disciples and yet here they are returning to the grave, they don’t wait for the others, they don’t wait to be directed, they just go, even though they know that there is a stone that they can’t move on their own- and they didn’t bring help. It is hopeless, many would say pointless, but they go anyway. How many of us need to follow in these ladies ‘ footsteps and go anyway? God brought us to this place, and it hasn’t turned out as we thought it would. We’re dealing with the pain and disappointment, tired of fighting the same battles over and over again, and the last thing we want to do is go back and face it. But we need to.
We don’t understand it, we don’t see the way, but we will keep the faith when all hope is lost and we are going anyway… I think sometimes that’s all God wants- for us to show up anyway. Even when it’s hard. When all we see is the darkness. Even when it looks like it ended in death and disappointment. Even when we have to fight the same battle we’ve been fighting for the last year. Even when we can’t move the stone that sits in the way, show up. And let God do the rest. Show up. Treat it as your offering, and show up. Bring yourself, bring your time, despite how you feel. Keep showing up. Keep praying. Keep standing in the gap.
Keep The Faith When All Hope Is Lost
The same cross that represents death in Mark 15, now bridges the gap into Mark 16 where the stone is rolled away. God is already working out what you are worried about. We may not be able to see Him, and the world around us may feel so dark, it may look like it has ended on the cross- but the Lord is at work in the darkness of the tomb because death has no hold on Him. It may look like the cross has taken the victory, but it has no power because the stone is about to roll away. Even if it looks like it’s ended on the cross, it can’t stay there because death has no hold on your heavenly father.
Friday- with all of the disappointments and pain, and failure is the hinge on which the doors of God’s grace will swing wide open. It can’t end in the dead place; the end of the book is already written. Evil may win the battle, but it’s already lost the war. The victory has already been claimed and He can take every mistake, every broken piece, and turn it into a miracle.
How Do You Keep The Faith When You Feel Like All Hope Is Lost?
How do you keep the faith when you feel like all hope is lost, and you are ready to throw in the towel?
• Hang on to what you know to be true.
• Keep showing up even when everyone else has given up.
• Keep storming heavens gates in prayer.
• Read your Bible, study, and spend time with your heavenly father.
Keep The Faith When It Looks Like The End
Often, we see the stone in front of us, and we know we can’t move it so we walk away instead of waiting for God to deal with it. He will not leave it on the cross, or in the grave, but often we do. In our panic to avoid the pain and disappointments, in the fear that we may end up in uncomfortable places, that He may lead us to a place we don’t want to go, that it might end up on the cross we hide and allow the story to die here instead of returning like these women returning to Jesus’s tomb in Mark 16.
The devil can try to destroy what God is doing. He can attack it, he can bury it, he can even try to kill it. Satan will bring people into your life to try to tear down what you’ve been building. People to speak death over the dream the Lord gave you. He can try to send people to discourage you. He’ll pull out all the stops to send you retreating away from the place God has called you to. You will see where he’ll try to make you believe that this is where it all ends. Make you think that there is no way out of this dead place- but He can’t stop what the Lord is doing. Keep walking, keep trusting God, and let Him move the stones that are standing in your way. Take heart dear friend and keep the faith like these women returning to Jesus’s tomb in Mark 16.
Before you go, check these out!
• Friday Paid For It All
• Good Friday Isn’t The End Of The Story
• The End Is Just The Begining
• God In The Storm – 6 Powerful Ways To Trust God When The Flood Waters Rise
• How To Start A Powerful Prayer Walk Today The #1 Guide