Late in the afternoon a wealthy man from Arimathea, a disciple of Jesus, arrived. His name was Joseph. He went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. Pilate granted his request. Joseph took the body and wrapped it in clean linens, put it in his own tomb, a new tomb only recently cut into the rock, and rolled a large stone across the entrance. Then he went off. But Mary Magdalene and the other Mary stayed, sitting in plain view of the tomb. After sundown, the high priests and Pharisees arranged a meeting with Pilate. They said, “Sir, we just remembered that that liar announced while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will be raised.’ We’ve got to get that tomb sealed until the third day. There’s a good chance his disciples will come and steal the corpse and then go around saying, ‘He’s risen from the dead.’ Then we’ll be worse off than before, the final deceit surpassing the first.” Pilate told them, “You will have a guard. Go ahead and secure it the best you can.” So they went out and secured the tomb, sealing the stone and posting guards. Matthew 27:57-66 (The Message)
I can be bull headed some of the time. Well, a lot of the time. While, I work hard not to overmanage my staff or children letting them make decisions and even if it is not done exactly the way I would do it, and stand behind their choices, it is not easy for me to do. I am most comfortable being in charge, giving advice, telling people what to do. Sometimes, I wonder if I have been that way from birth. My sister has hinted that it is true. In my early teens, I clearly remember my parents saying I should become a lawyer because I was so good at arguing. But, being in charge requires a fundamental principle that I am also in control of a situation. Sometimes I am, but many times, I am not. The last few months have been an exercise in futility as I try my best to control what I cannot. I think that there must be blood on my head from banging it into wall after wall after wall, only to learn, I have no choice but to sit back and wait to see what happens because I have no say over the circumstances. Our house still looks as it did two months ago when it was first stripped due to the water leak. Despite all my plans, all my meetings with contractors, all my finagling and wishing and trying, the floors are still bare concrete, the walls still have holes in them, the bathroom cabinet is still buckled and the kitchen cabinets still housed on the back porch. I still have folding tables beside the stove and food stored in bags on the kitchen table. Because the insurance company offered us fifty cents on the dollar for repairs and without borrowing money, we have no way to do the work. I have cried, I have raged, I have given up and taken up the battle again. Nothing has been done. To fight an insurance company and its adjusters is a complicated matter. Even the paperwork is so unintelligible it might as well be written in Chinese. I have to get two bids on everything, even the price of baseboards, in order to prove that they have underestimated the cost and even then, there is no guarantee that we will get more money. I know that they make it hard on purpose. How tempting it would be just to cash the check and forget about it? But, I keep ramming my head into the bureaucratic wall, hoping today, I might get a different answer. The same with finding a wedding reception venue for youngest son and his girlfriend. The site for the wedding, a beach that is special to them, has already been selected and the permit acquired. But, finding a venue that is near the beach, is large enough to hold 150 people and will allow us to provide our own food and not hire a caterer is becoming impossible. Oh, but, it must be obvious by now that I do not hear that word. I have been on the phone, visited place after place, but nothing suits. Nothing. With similar scenarios unfolding at work, I have been buffeted by the winds of disappointment and failure over and over again. And still I try. One of the days, I will finally get it that I have to give up and whatever happens happens, but I haven’t gotten to the point yet that I feel that there is nothing in my power that I can’t do. Sadly, only when I get desperate and hopeless, do I often turn to God and surrender to His will. Today is Easter Saturday. The day between Good Friday when Christ died and the day He rose again. What must it have been like for Simon Peter (who I think I may be a lot like) or for John or Mary or Matthew? What was that dark day like when the world went on as though everything was normal when in fact, nothing would ever be the same again? What must it have been like to think you wasted three years of your life following a man who made a lot of promises, but failed to keep any of them? Or so it appeared. What was it like to think that God was dead, hope forgotten and Heaven unreachable? Today, on the day before Easter, on the day before the God of Hope completed His work of salvation, think about what it would be like to have no hope. To have no future. No promise. Contemplate the significance. We know the ending to the story, but what if you didn’t? What if you had no hope?