In December 1939, Britain was experiencing the early dark days of the Second World War. As part of his Christmas broadcast, King George 6th offered these words, written in 1908 by an American Social scientist and poet, Minnie Louise Haskins;
“I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year.
‘Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown’.
And he replied, ‘Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God; That shall be to you better that a light and safer than a known way’.
So, I went forth and, finding the hand of God, trod gladly into the night.”
Mary and Martha have sent an urgent message to Jesus telling Him how sick Lazarus was and urging Him to come to them quickly.
But Jesus delays His visit to Mary and Martha for a couple of days and, as we know, Lazarus died.
We know that Jesus saw Martha and Mary’s pain and the distress of the Jews that were supporting the sisters, and that stirred up emotions within Him too;
‘He was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved’
You see, Jesus really does know how we feel when we lose someone; He absolutely understands our grief, our pain, our anger, our disbelief that someone we have loved is no longer there.
Jesus felt the true pain of loss.
But remember what Jesus said “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me, will never die”
Throughout the Gospels individuals and groups are challenged to take a leap of faith; challenged to “go out into the darkness” of this unknown territory, trusting that the God, whom Jesus calls “Father” is able to transform their darkness into light, despair into hope and death into life.
We are in unusual times at the moment. Times that can stir up fear, or anger, perhaps even despair.
We have never had to deal with a situation like this before.
As we go through social restrictions because of the Coronavirus we can be absolutely confident that Christ is here with us in these difficult times.
Jesus truly does know how we feel, he knows our pain.
He feels our loneliness, our fear, even our isolation.
But He also knows that, as we step out into the darkness of grief, He will be there for us;
He will be there with us;
He will hold out His hands; and He will take hold of ours; and ‘He will be better than light and safer than a known way.’
Jesus is the resurrection; Jesus is the life;
And those who believe in Him, even though we die, we will live.
Everyone who lives and believes in Him will never die.
Do you believe this?