On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. John 20:19-20 (NIV)
While we fill the day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday with egg hunts, on the day after Jesus died, His disciples scattered and hid. After seeing the man that they had followed for three years taken from them by soldiers and hearing of his crucifixion and death, their world shattered. If He was Who He said He was, how could He be dead? If He is dead, then, was anything He told me the truth? Now, what will happen to me? Will I be the next to die? Unlike Christians who came after the resurrection, those who walked with Jesus did not know the ending to the story. They did not know how the world would be changed when the Messiah rose from the dead. So, they hid in fear. Before we get smug and say, I would have been faithful, I would have been true, think again. How do we react when we face trouble or death ourselves? How quickly will our faith dissolve? A couple of weeks ago, I had some odd symptoms and went to the doctor. The whirlwind my inquiry set into place surprised me. There were tests to be scheduled and lab work to be done and all at a fast clip. One of the blood tests was to check for the cancer which of course, knocked the wind out of me. At the sonogram, the technician was training a student. There was a lot of pointing and whispering at the screen. I couldn’t hear much, but one thing rang out clearly. “See, in older, post menopausal women, the ovaries atrophy and disappear.” I could just imagine my ovaries shrinking into nothingness and then, the tiny fragments disintegrating into my abdomen. Perhaps that was the source of my pain. Through it all, I kept thinking I’ve spent my life trying to glorify God in all circumstances and not always done a very good job. Will I do better in illness and death? Or will I fear and abandon God? Where will my faith be then? Thankfully, the test results came back negative. It is not cancer after all. I still have one more test to endure to rule out other problems, but I am home free. But, not really. Illness or not, every day, I am dying one moment at a time. The things that really counted when I thought I might not have long to say or do them, still matter. I will not really be home free until I get to heaven. But, in the meantime, I have God’s peace to sustain me. What about others I know? Do they know the source of peace? I have only a little while to share the good news of the gospel of peace. What about you? Every day is in the valley of the shadow of death. Whether or not the darkness threatens to overcome you, live every day like it is your last. Help others see the Lord! Peace be with you!