Knowing how things turn out
April 7, 2023 | Ashley Davidson-Lam
About the author: Ashley is married to Chun and they have two boys. Recently, Ashley began serving on ZPC’s staff as the Worship and Connections Coordinator and is enjoying her new role. She has helped with the NextGen ministry, VBS, Great Banquet, and is currently a Deacon. In her free time, she enjoys reading, rearranging furniture, and being creative.
Mark 15:21-32 MSG
There was a man walking by, coming from work, Simon from Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus. They made him carry Jesus’ cross. The soldiers brought Jesus to Golgotha, meaning “Skull Hill.” They offered him a mild painkiller (wine mixed with myrrh), but he wouldn’t take it. And they nailed him to the cross. They divided up his clothes and threw dice to see who would get them. They nailed him up at 9:00 in the morning. The charge against him – the King of Jews – was scrawled across a sign. Along with him, they crucified two criminals, one to his right, the other to his left. People passing along the road jeered, shaking their heads in mock lament: “You bragged that you could tear down the Temple and then rebuild it in three days – so show us your stuff! Save yourself! If you’re really God’s son, come down from that cross!” The high priests, along with the religion scholars, were right there mixing it up with the rest of them, having a great time poking fun at him: “He saved others – but he can’t save himself! Messiah, is he? King of Israel? Then let him climb down from that cross. We’ll all become believers then!” Even the men crucified alongside him joined in the mockery.
How many times have you called out to God pleading for him to make his way known? To make himself known to you? To disclose his plans and his ways for the direction of your life? The direction of anything, really. To show you the answer to any question you have. How many times have you doubted him when he didn’t respond in the way you thought he would or should?
I always read the last chapter of a book first. I would want my super power to be "knowing how things turn out." I sometimes still hit shuffle on a playlist and ask God to show me the future in whichever song he chooses to have come on next. When I was a child, I preferred to hang out with the adults because they always knew what was happening next. When my son was 4 and told me that he “couldn’t wait to get back to heaven,” I certainly did ask him if he could tell me what heaven was like.
I want to know what life holds for me. I want to know God’s plan. For anything. I want a peek behind the veil to see what everyone else can’t. I want to be let in on the secret. I want to see God, in the flesh. I want to see his miracles. I would have wanted to see Jesus saved from the cross.
The passersby wanted to see Jesus get down from the cross. They wanted to witness the miracle so that they would know that he was the Son of God. They wanted to be let in on the secret. They said they would believe if they saw it. They were saying knowledge is better than faith. But haven’t we seen faith work in ways that knowledge never could? My step-dad’s 2% chance at remission happened; my son lost oxygen at birth but has no lasting effects; a close friend got a new lung 2 days after being placed on the transplant list. I think if we all really thought about it, we could list quite a few ways that God took care of us – worked a miracle - when we only had faith to lean on and not knowledge or statistics.
God calls us to trust him and believe in him. Wouldn’t it be nice to have proof that he is always with us and always protecting us that we could see with our own eyes or hold in our own hands instead of proof that lives only in our hearts and minds? Faith is felt and knowledge is seen.
On this Good Friday, let us all remember that even Jesus’ very own loved ones didn’t know the plan. They weren’t in on the secret. They didn’t see him rescued from the cross. They probably wouldn’t have called it a good day. They didn’t know the resurrection was coming.
Jesus calms us. Jesus guides us. Jesus has us. Jesus died for us.
Thank you for being all knowing. Thank you for knowing what we need and when we need it. What an amazing gift that we do not have to lean on our own understanding - how limiting that would be. What an amazing gift you gave us that first Friday, before anyone could ever fathom that Jesus’ crucifixion could possibly be considered “good.” You understand that we want to know everything and to know that it will all work out. Please continue to gently guide us back to our faith in you, always.