Where Is Our Hope … And Who Is It In?
Today is the 24th anniversary of our daughter, Vanessa’s death. It’s never an easy day but we have some very special routines built into every June 16th. One of those, of course, is to visit Vanessa’s grave site and just reflect on her life. As we sat there in the morning heat, Jan broke our private silence. “You know,” she said, with a couple of snags in her voice “this was the beginning of our Metamorphyx.” By that she meant a monumental personal trial we had to endure (and then embrace!) that led to radical change in our lives … and ultimately helped steer us to life purpose.
As the 11:00AM sun baked us in front of Vanessa’s gravesite this morning, my eyes drifted to an image I have never seen before – and I’ve been to this hallowed patch of grass perhaps 200 times! Across the far side of the cemetery, perfectly positioned dead-center between two pine trees and dozens of grave markers, was a statue of Jesus carrying his cross. On that stone-hewn path were also statues of two Roman Centurions, one with his plaster arm broken off.
My eyes laser focused on the scene. Then my mind started to churn. Of course, I knew where Jesus was going. The Roman soldiers were only accompanying him to the Cross – Jesus had already chosen to go there. From my position in the cemetery, I could not see the Calvary Hill destination, but from dozens of visits over the decades, I vividly recalled that the two thieves were already hoisted up on their respective cement crosses. They were awaiting Jesus. I thought for a minute, “Is that the how it went down … were they waiting on Jesus?” I really don’t know the crucifixion ‘sequence’ and I’m not sure the Bible tells us.
And then I whispered to Jan. “We know where Jesus was going, but we can’t see it from here. If he didn’t go there, our hope to see Vanessa again would be an idiot’s dream. That’s more or less the same question that Jesus asked Martha (John 11:17-26) after telling her, “Your brother will rise again. Do you believe this?”
“Faith is the assurance of what we hope for, and the certainty of what we cannot see,” (Hebrews 11:1)