The darkest day

The year was 1990. It was around this time of the year. I was a sophomore in high school. I knew that in a few short weeks my older brother would be graduating from high school and that a few months after that he would be off to college. My brain knew too. Each night I had nightmares. One night it would be that I was the only person who knew who my brother was, the next that he had died and no one cared but me. I would wake up in a panic and walk across the room just to check that he was still there and still breathing.

You see my big brother had always been my hero growing up, but in our high school years he had become my friend. Maybe even my best friend. We went to movies on the weekend, played catch in the yard, talked girls at night, and played poker or Monopoly until 2 in morning. He knew all of my strange quirks (and there were a lot) and I knew every girl he ever dated or thought about dating. We discussed the Rangers and the Royals, the Pistons and the Sixers, the Cowboys and the Bears, and why Dr. J was the best and would always be better than Jordan. He was the one that no matter what anyone else thought of my faith in Christ stood by my side and encouraged me.

And now, he was leaving. I remember being sad at graduation, but the reality came when we dropped him at his dorm that fall. For the first time in my life I remember that day crying on my brother's shoulder. It was the first time I cried about something "real". He was gone.

On this day I feel for the disciples, for the women who traveled with Jesus, for His mother, for Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, for Nicodemus and Joseph, and for all those who had followed Jesus. They had left nets, tax-collecting booths, other rabbis, their very religion all in the hope that this man Jesus was the Messiah, the promised one of God. All of them believed He was, one even proclaimed it. And now He was gone.

I can only from my own experiences with loss begin to understand what this time must have been like for these. I have the hope of Easter, but for them the questions running through their minds had to run from "Was I wrong?" to "Did I miss something?" and finally to "What do I do now?"

Thankfully Jesus promise would come true, "You will become sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn to joy". (John 16:20) But it doesn't mean that their sorrow would not be great.

Rejoice today in the knowledge that Jesus is alive! But take a moment and think of what it would be like to suddenly and violently have Him wrested away as they did, and rejoice that no one ever again will have to experience that anguish.


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