Beauty for Ashes: A Good Friday Story

Beauty for Ashes: A Good Friday Story

Is today a hard day for you? The entire world is turned upside down right now due to the coronavirus pandemic.  Maybe that simply looks like being stuck at home with a bunch of wild children and you’re exhausted from having no mama escape.  Maybe you’re on the front lines, caring for the sick either in hospitals or in care facilities, maybe you work all night restocking shelves so we can buy toilet paper the next day.  Maybe you’ve lost your job and you’re afraid of losing everything.  Maybe you’re sick and scared that you might die.  Maybe a family member is sick and you’re afraid of losing them.  Maybe you’ve already lost someone you cared about.  Or maybe you’re dealing with a crisis totally unrelated to the coronavirus, a marriage that’s falling apart, a different illness or loss, and the state of the world is just another blow to your already difficult circumstances.

It’s terrifying when your whole world seems to be falling apart. Almost five years ago in August of 2015 I was there.  My husband and I were broke.  A job he’d been in training for had fallen through and he wasn’t eligible for unemployment.  I wasn’t working.  It had been almost two months since we’d had a regular income.  If all that wasn’t hard enough, I experienced my third miscarriage and almost lost my own life in the process. 

I went to my follow up doctor’s appointment.  Unlike my first miscarriage where I had a list of questions written out upon arrival, all I wanted was a prescription for birth control and to be medically cleared to go back to my messed up life.  I went to meet with my pastor and friend afterwards.  I dumped it all out on her and said, “I don’t know what to do.”  I felt bad for her because this was not the first hard thing to pop up in our church that week.  Another church member experienced a massive fire at their business within days of my own loss and a few other struggles had all descended upon our tight knit church family at the same time.  She was at a loss same as me.  I left the office feeling like my burden had been shared but not really lifted.

This story of mine came back to me this morning as I spent time studying the Scriptures around Holy Week.  Today is Good Friday, the day Jesus died.  As I read, the story of Simon Peter captivated me once again.  He is such a relatable disciple and I think he was chosen to be the rock of the church for that very reason.  In Luke 22:31-32, Jesus says:

Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat.  But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail.  And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.

Simon, the disciple who swore he’d never leave Jesus, denies him three times just as Jesus predicted.  He becomes one of the biggest evangelists of the early church after Jesus rises from the dead, author of two books of the Bible.  But that night Jesus was betrayed, Simon got scared.  That’s a relatable person.

Simon, along with all of the disciples, was terrified.  Simon had been following Jesus throughout His ministry and knew with such a strong faith that Jesus was the Messiah, the Savior come to rule the world.  But suddenly, Jesus was being arrested, tried for crimes, and although He was not found guilty of anything, all of a sudden the Lord Simon had been following was cruelly nailed to a cross to die a brutal death.  Simon’s faith took a hard blow.

I can relate.  That August I was defeated.  I didn’t know what to do and after all the praying and asking for direction I’d done I sure wasn’t going to talk to God about what I needed or wanted.  I didn’t want to have anything to do with Him.  While I attended church, taught Sunday School, led Bible study, and appeared to be strong in my faith, I was ignoring the Lord.  He’d let all my hopes and dreams crumble to ashes and I wasn’t going to waste my energy on Him.  I needed to take a look at what my family needed because He didn’t seem to care.

My faith was in ashes, just as Simon’s seemed to be.  Just like yours might be right now.  It’s Good Friday and our source of faith has just been crucified, died, and buried, sealed away in a tomb.

Grieve.  It’s time to grieve today.  But know that grief doesn’t last forever. 

That tomb didn’t stay empty and Peter did in fact turn back to faith, boldly, strengthening his brothers.

Jobs came through for us.  I turned back to my faith about three months after my final miscarriage, allowing God to walk me through grief.  Then an unexpected pregnancy.  Finally the healthiest little boy you ever did see catapulted his way into my life.

Beauty from ashes…it’s not just a saying.  My friend, your hopes and dreams might be dead and buried in a tomb today on this Good Friday.  But your Sunday is coming.  So turn back to Him and have faith.


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