Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Three Days

One of the troubles I have with the Bible is that it is primarily God's story.  Which is fine, I suppose, if you're God but as one of God's people, there are days I kind of wish for more of the people's story.

I get it.  I do.  I love the way the Bible encourages and inspires me, the way it keeps me focused on the Promise of God and His persistent presence and the way He's always working everything out for good.  I love seeing the way His people camp outside enemy territory, then storm the place and win all in a matter of verses.  I love the way the fourth guy shows up in the furnace in the same breath that the three Israelites are thrown in.  I love that Jonah is swallowed by a whale and spewed out on the beach and we don't have to wait three days to figure all that out.  I love that we're not suck waiting three days to see Jesus rise from the dead.

But there are time sin my life that I long to know more about those three days.

Because that's where I'm living.

I am living somewhere between crucifixion and resurrection, somewhere between blowholes and the beach.  God's people camped outside enemy territory for one more night before God promised to hand them the victory tomorrow.  I want to know what happens between tonight and tomorrow because that's where I am.  Somewhere between.

In this place, the Bible doesn't have a lot of practical advice or prudent example.  I need to know what a man does for three days in a whale.  The promise of the puke is nice, but there are a few long nights to get through first.  The promise of three days later just doesn't always feel like enough.

A couple of Easters ago, I wrote about Jesus in the grave.  I don't need to know what a man does in a grave for three days because, as I said then, I believe that Jesus was fully dead.  I don't think He was sitting around killing time, folding His grave clothes again and again until the appointed moment.

But I wonder what eleven other men, a handful of other women, and a nation of hopeful people did for three days.  I need to know how they passed the time.  I need to know what they did with themselves while trembling.  The day after Passover was Sabbath, a day of rest.  Were they able to rest or were they restless?  How did they take it?  What does a grieving man do for three days when he has the hope of resurrection but a few long nights to get through first?

The story of God is a narrative of hope.  Obviously, it can't be based in the human realm because it's irrelevant, really, what God's people do; what matters is what God does through His people.  And we see enough of their failings and His faithfulness to understand the interaction of the human element with the divine.  That is some hope.  You can't help but believe in a God like that.  I love the way He tells His story.

It's just that sometimes, there are a few long nights to get through and I can't help but wonder what a man is supposed to do with all that hope.  I can't help but wonder what a man is supposed to with all that promise.  I can't help but wonder what a man is supposed to do with himself between crucifixion and resurrection, between blowholes and the beach, between tonight and tomorrow.

I can't help but wonder what a man is supposed to do for three days in a whale.


  1. The disciples didn't understand that Jesus would be raised in 3 days. They were devastated and worried for their own lives and safety.

    With 20/20 hindsight, I would suppose that all we can do in the interim is pray and be still and know that He is God. God always shows up and He does on his own timing...which is usually not ours.

    Personally, I have always wanted to hear what Lazarus did in the grave for 4 days! Obviously, he was in Paradise, but who did he see and what did they talk about and what did it feel like to come back to life?! C'mon!

  2. Lazarus would be helpful, too. I didn't even think about him for this piece, but you're right. What does a man do in the grave for four days?

    I don't know. I think we're all kind of disciples, aren't we? He tells us He's coming, He's doing this or that thing, and we don't understand. We know what He said, but between here and there, we don't get it. I think that's the hard part. I think that's the part I sometimes wish the Bible did a better job of telling us - the between. The waiting. The not getting it and how do you handle what He says when...

    Thanks for reading, Melissa. :)