When Hope Died

By Kristen Hartman | April 11, 2020

Perhaps this season of strangeness we find ourselves in is allowing us to experience Holy Week in a new way. Perhaps you find yourself relating to the disciples this year. Good Friday wouldn’t have felt good to them. Not at all.

Had I been with them, how long would I have stayed in the garden before I ran? How far would I have fled? Would I have trembled in the eerie midday darkness and watched my Hope die on that tree? Or would I have cowered far away? Maybe I would have needed to watch. Or maybe I would have needed deniability as I tried to fit the shattered pieces of the past three years into some semblance of sense.

And what about today? Were the eleven back together by Saturday? Mourning? Panicking? Planning? Arguing? Praying? Or maybe they were silent. Stunned. Confused. Angry. Afraid. These were the ones who didn’t have the faith to cast a demon out of a boy or the discipline to stay awake and keep watch with Jesus or . . . or . . . or . . . the list of failures was long. What would that Saturday when their world failed have been like for them?

Our world is reeling today — and the devastation is real — but it is not the devastation of the death of the long-awaited Messiah.

Today I endure Friday because Sunday’s coming, because I know the end of the story. But the disciples lived through each agonizing minute devoid of Hope. It would have been a brutal test of faith even if they’d understood everything Jesus had told them, so how much worse was it when they didn’t get it?

I can’t begin to experience how the disciples felt that first Friday and Saturday. I can’t fathom their desolation and fear. The One for whom they’d given up everything to follow was dead and buried. Three years, their expectations, their reputations, their futures — gone in less than a day.

So this Saturday I sit in the waiting. Uncomfortable. Antsy. Physically isolated from our community, yet a little less judgmental of the fleet-footed disciples. Because I know and celebrate what they’ll learn tomorrow: the tomb is empty and Hope is alive!

Kristen Hartman