Afterward.

That’s a cliff word.

A leap. A jump. A spiral. A dive.

In today’s #LentChallenge reading of John 21:1-14, we begin find the disciples fishing again. But the passage launches with three syllables…

Afterward.

Which means there’s a Beforeword.

That’s where we find ourselves today. Darkness descending. A holy corpse pinned to a pair of rough boards. Sword slits his flesh. Blood and water drip in a mind-bending cosmic reality.

This is Good Friday. A day when those who stood at the foot of the cross saw nothing good.

I wish it was hard to imagine. But for most of us, it’s all too familiar.

Even if our pain didn’t involve swords or boards, we’ve tasted the salty sweat and steamy tears of suffering, a day that seemed like it would never end.

Sometimes the weight of the wait seems like more than we can bear. The weight is so heavy because so much is at stake.

My friends, TC and Maegan, know the weight of the wait. They waited for almost 3 years to bring their adopted daughter home from Africa. The reality of children being politicized, paperwork hoop jumping, and beauro-crazy, gnawed at their hope and resolve.

Last spring, they waited in Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo for their long-promised one.

On Good Friday, the power went out. Sitting in the darkness, a vicious storm peeled and crackled.

Through the inky blackness, their tight knit group of five adoptive parents didn’t miss the irony.

The dark of the original Good Friday.

The powerlessness of those who watched.

The violence of heaven and hell crashing into each other.

They whispered of how long those days felt… for them… for us… for those who didn’t know holy surprise waited in the wings to shatter the darkness.

Maegan describes the weight of the wait:

“Our tight knit group of five was a group that had access to resources to get things done.

For the first time in our adult lives, we could ONLY lean into our faith to carry us through that weekend.

None of us had ever just sat. Dwelled. Rested. Reflected. Reckoned with the silence and the faith the disciples had to lean into.

Of course they doubted. The disciples had direct access to Jesus himself in his ministry on earth.

Yet, in those moments of silence and darkness at the foot of the cross they could only cling to the past words of Jesus.

The five of us had never spent the days before the resurrection attempting to be still and reflect on how the world went dark—it left us breathless.

I’d never known that kind of dark, but we found it in Kinshasa as darkness fell on Good Friday.”

Will you take time to be still this weekend?

Stop running from the dark and rest in the assurance. God knows His way around the dark.

TC and Meagan sat in the darkness for three days with no new information, but the hope of their daughter arriving on Easter. That’s after almost 3 years of waiting.

On Resurrection Day, the light and the life beamed in.

Her name is Zoe—which literally means life.

TC reflected this year by stating he’d love to go back to Kinshasa just for a few days. Just to remember and get a glimpse of how much they truly had to cling to the promise of God that Easter weekend in the waiting.

My hope and prayer for you this Good Friday is that you will recognize that you are not alone in the dark. And that God would give you night vision goggles for what’s coming.

As a side note: Maegan is the newest addition to our team and you’re going to love her as much as we do. And Zoe and her sister Emory are pure joy. I watched in awe the first moment Zoe saw the ocean. Unforgettable.  

What did you least want to read but most need to hear in today’s reading?

(If you have any questions post them below. We’ll be collecting and gathering responses for insight from New Testament scholar Craig Blomberg in the upcoming weeks).

Day 39: John 21:1-14 Discussion Questions:

  1. Today we pause because it’s Good Friday. When have you been thrust into the inky darkness?
  2. Describe a time when you experienced the resurrection power of Christ’s presence?
  3. What has stood out to you most about the beforeword of this passage?
  4. Using the Color Method, what stood out to you most from today’s reading?
  5. What do you find most challenging about today’s reading? What do you find most comforting about today’s reading?

Recommended Resources:

Pocketful of Promises by Margaret Feinberg