Afraid of the light: Daily Bread #15

Read Mark 16

Questions To Answer:

Name a few things that you were scared of as a child.

Do you consider any of these fears silly today?

What would you say you fear most right now?

What do you do with that fear?

How do you move forward and not let that fear paralyze you?

Who do you turn to when you are afraid?

Verse 8 says that the women fled from the tomb “trembling and bewildered.”  Other translations use the words “astonished, amazed, and afraid.”

Why do you think the women responded in this way?  What would your reaction have been if you were there at the tomb?

How do you react to it today?

Have you ever been frustrated because Jesus didn’t show up when you needed Him most? Or Jesus showed up, but not in the way you thought you needed?

How do we cope with those times when we don’t understand the will and actions (or inaction) of God?

Have you missed the miracles of God because you insisted that He respond to you on your own terms and in your own time?

Are you looking for Jesus where He said He is, or are you demanding and angry that He is not where you want Him to be?

If you could see the power of the resurrection come true in anyone’s life who would it be?  How would you want them to respond to a Savior that died for us but didn’t stay dead?

Scriptures To Read:

Deuteronomy 31:7-8

 Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the Lord swore to their ancestors to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

Romans 14:8-9

If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.

Isaiah 40:28-31

28 Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

A Thought To Ponder:

Plato once said, “We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark. The real tragedy of life is when grown men are afraid of the light.”

There have been many portrayals of the life and teachings of Jesus in the movies.  Some excel at representing His humanity others capture the horrors of His execution.  None can fully represent the complexity and depth of His entire experience on earth.  In fact, I find the best stories are told about others people’s reaction to Jesus.

The 1965 classic, The Greatest Story Ever Told, imagines the interaction between Martha and Jesus at the death of Lazarus.  As Jesus approaches Mary and Martha, Martha runs to him and scolds him: “Come to bury the dead?  Or have you come to feed the mourners?  You made a leper well.  You made a cripple walk.  Was it too much to ask that you keep my brother from dying?  Why do you come now that he is dead, when you could have come when he lived, when he needed you?  Why?” 

Those exact words aren’t found in scripture but the sentiment is apparent.  Aren’t these the hard questions we ask in the darkness of loss and grief?  The question hangs in the air and clings to our souls: “why?”

“Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light.  It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.” After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”  John 11:9-11

I’m praying that you will not stumble in the inky blackness of doubt and despair.  For fear of the light, so many people stay imprisoned in cells with doors wide open.  The empty tomb spills light into our murky lives.   He invites us to come out of the dark and live in the warmth and beauty of His light.

Prayer For Change:

Here’s an excerpt of a prayer printed in Christianity Today.  What would you add to this list?

O Risen Lord, be our resurrection and life.

Be the resurrection and the life for us and all whom you have made.

Be the resurrection and the life for those caught in the grip of sin and addiction.

Be the resurrection and the life for those who feel forsaken.

Be the resurrection and the life for those who live as if you do not.

Be the resurrection and the life

for those who do not believe they need resurrection and life.

Be the resurrection and the life

in churches that believe they are dying, and in successful churches who don’t know they are dead. 

Be the resurrection and the life

in us who know the good but fail to do it, who have not been judged but still judge, who know love but still live for self, who know hope but succumb to despair.

Be the resurrection and the

life for those dying of malnutrition and hunger.

Be the resurrection and life

for those imprisoned unjustly and those imprisoned justly.

Be the resurrection and life

for those who live under regimes that seek

to crush all who proclaim resurrection and life.

Be the resurrection and the life

for those in the throes of sickness that leads to death.

Be the resurrection and the life

in families where the weak are maltreated by the strong.

Be the resurrection and the life

in marriages that are disintegrating.

Be the resurrection and the life

for women trafficked and enslaved by the forces of wickedness.

Be the resurrection and the life

for those whose lives are snuffed out in the womb.

Be the resurrection and the life for anyone anywhere who knows suffering and death in any form, and for Creation itself, which groans in travail.

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