It actually began the night of Jesus’s arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane. Despite His predictions of what the future would hold and His references to scripture, the disciples obviously did not understand, and they were overcome with fear: “They all forsook Him and fled” (Mark 14:50). Peter denied knowing him three times in less than twenty-four hours (John 18:15-27 ); only John is mentioned as being at the crucifixion (John 19:26); any specific mention of the other disciples in public is only alluded to as Luke 23:49 does say that “. . . all His acquaintances, and the women who followed Him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.” When Mary Magdalen went to tell the disciples that Jesus’s body was missing, they were all hiding, which is where they still were when Jesus came to them after His resurrection (John 20:19).
To put it simply, they were lost, confused, and afraid.
Like the disciples, we often have our “In Between” times. Life is going well, right on track, and we feel a great peace when suddenly, our world shifts and we are faced with loss, disappointment, rejection, illness, or uncertainty. Our future as we knew it is gone, and now we don’t know what tomorrow will bring. We don’t know if or when a new hope might appear. At these times we too forget God’s promises to us and become lost, confused, and afraid.
I think a fearful response to unexpected or unwanted change is just human nature, our default mode, and I don’t think God faults us for that. Approximately forty-four times in the Bible it says “Do not be afraid” or “Do not fear” and almost all of these involve an unexpected change in the future for the individual addressed. People such as Abraham, Jacob, the Israelites, Mary, Joseph, and Peter. Well, plus there might have been an angel involved, too. That, too, could shake a person up a little.
But there is a another word mentioned more than three times as often in the Bible. Trust.
Though fear may be our first reaction to many of life’s changes, once we remember that God is still on the throne and in control, if we remember the promises He has made to us, then we can shed that mantle of fear and trust in the One who has our lives in His hands.
I hope you have a blessed Easter and have accepted that eternal hope for the future.