I was reading about a man who suddenly lost his faith. He said he, “…woke up to discover that God had died during the night. It was a weird sensation, a terrifying absence beyond anything I had ever experienced before. God was gone – just like that, overnight. I waited, to see if I was mistaken. Weeks. Months. But no. God was dead. At first I just felt numb. But as the realization finally sank in, I felt utterly lost and alone,” (Valusek, Jay, “Can There Be Spiritual Direction Without God?” in Presence, Vol. 20 No. 4 Dec. 2014).
In my head I thought: How does this happen? God is never absent from us. It is us that turn away from God, not the other way around. But this man is convinced God is dead. How did he get to that place of completely losing hope? It occurred to me that this was how Jesus’ friends felt today. Holy Saturday. Jesus is dead. It is terrifying. Gone – just like that. It must have been numbing. They must have felt lost and alone. There was no hope. Some hid. Some ran away. Everything had gone out the window because Jesus had left them.
But what was happening with Jesus? They laid him in the tomb, all bound up and rolled the stone over the hole. He was in complete darkness, alone except for maybe a few spiders or a mouse. It was in the dark aloneness that hope-filled amazement happened! It’s still a bit of a mystery how exactly it all worked, but Jesus rose from death. Jesus conquered it. All we know is the stone was rolled back in the morning and Jesus wasn’t there. Life came in the darkness.
Eventually, Jesus showed himself to his friends, his disciples, in the light of day. The risen Christ made all things new again. I am hopeful that the man who lost his faith might find that God was not dead. It is hard to hold on to that when in the dark, when we are in that terrified, numbing, lost and alone state. May Christ come into all of our dark places and give us hope-filled amazement. Let us wait in hope for the coming of the Lord.