Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV)
A new day dawned. Silence prevailed. Jesus was gone, He had died by the will of the people. He had died a criminal’s death. The disciples had scattered and it was over. The region was rid of one more religious teacher.
“He healed, but couldn’t save Himself,” was muttered with scorn.
The Bible is silent about what went on inside the tomb. It’s silent about what each disciple thought and in what condition was his heart.
But, as humans, we can imagine. The agony, the disbelief, that this is how things ended. “I must have been wrong about Him,” many might have repeatedly thought.
Maybe, it seemed, God was silent.
It was back to life as usual on this Sabbath day. A day set aside for worship and rest. A day filled with empty minutes perfect for pondering just what had transpired.
We can imagine those quiet moments when we wish something else, anything else, could captivate and consume our thoughts, our attention, our hearts.
It was time to worship God. God that was now seen in a different light. How could this have happened? Did I somehow misinterpret? What’s to come?
God was there.
He was with His people. He was in the tomb. Just as He refused to leave Jesus in the tomb, He refuses to leave us alone, afraid, and in the dark.
Oh, we might spend some time in silent solitude, but He will break that silence at our request, in His timing.
This day was not the day for revelation. People’s hearts needed more time to prepare for what would come. Although no one understood, God was there. True to His promise in Deuteronomy, He had not left them.
How do I mistake silence for abandonment?
After Jesus was placed in the tomb, the Sabbath dictated everyone worship and rest. The people had been through the most horrible day emotionally, and now, they needed to bring their broken hearts, confused minds, and exhausted bodies to worship.
When God is silent what should I do? WORSHIP and REST.
Worship reminds us of the character and truths of God. That He is God. That He loves us. And, He is ultimately in control.
When we focus on God, we can stop worrying about the problem, because we are focused on the problem-solver. We can forget fear, because we are focused on the One who casts out all fear. We can feel our blood pressures return to normal as we realize it is God who controls the future not me, not some madman across the globe.
And after the worship?
After worship comes rest. Because we have shifted our focus, we are less stressed, and can find peace to rest spiritually, and also physically and emotionally.
The timing of Jesus’ death was no coincidence. Directly after His body was placed in the tomb, people needed to make final preparations for the Sabbath and then follow the rules for the Sabbath. While many thought God was silent that day, God had already given His people instruction on what they were to do that day: worship and rest. This is how He intended for them to get through that awful, confusing day.
When they followed His command, they were sure to make it through the day with the greatest amount of peace possible.
This lesson applies to us today. When I don’t know what to do, I should worship God and then rest. I must shift my focus from stress-filled life events and all-consuming burdens of the heart to God. He will take care of it. I can trust in His timing and His protection.
Prayer: Dear God, How often I, like the people who were terrified and disheartened about Jesus’ death, feel overwhelmed by events and underwhelmed by Your presence. Direct me to look to obedience to You, which is where I will find peace, and trust in You. Thank You for recording this example to instruct me on how I should do life. Amen.
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