April 23, 2011 – Failure's Grace

April 23, 2011 – Failure’s Grace
Rev. Geoff DeFranca

Job 19:21-27a

It’s Holy Saturday. Failure is apparent as the stone locks the dead man in. This is the day when the “I told you so” crowd would have its loudest voice, grinding the hope of the disciples and anticipation of a nation into the dry Palestinian ground. “Just another false Messiah.” “Just another failed revolutionary.” “Just another mistaken zealot.” Holy Saturday is the day of horrible shadows. The day the critics have their day! The day that makes all we read up to this point seem like one colossal failure.

It is not the first time this has happened? I need not rehearse Job’s story. But suffice it to say the critics had their day. Could there have been darker shadows covering the soul of a person than those which cloaked Job? Worst of all, his chief critics are friends who descend on him like vultures. Job’s lament is palpable: “Will you never get enough of my flesh?”(Job 19:22 NIV) Or as he NLT graphically puts it: "Haven't you chewed me up enough?"

Have you had your Holy Saturdays...felt Job’s cloak of shadows? At some point we all find ourselves in that land of darkened days, broken dreams, sin-crushed hopes. We see our lives as less than they should be; our efforts as failed and futile. Like a death-mist, those days cast their shadow over us.

But wait! In the darkness there is a “pin-point” of light! The mist is lifting! The voice of the embattled speaks words he struggles to feel, but knows at the point of the will.

“But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives,
and he will stand upon the earth at last.
And after my body has decayed, yet in my body I will see God!
I will see him for myself. Yes, I will see him with my own eyes. I am overwhelmed at the thought!” (Job 19:25-27 NLT)

The shadows are lifting. The stone is vibrating! The miracle is happening! “He is not here. He is risen!” Failure’s grace. Have a blessed Holy Saturday!

I can almost feel the hand of God
reaching for my face
to wipe the tears away, and say,
"It's time to make everything new. Make it all new"

This is our hope.

Out of these ashes... beauty will rise
and we will dance among the ruins
We will see Him with our own eyes
Out of these ashes... beauty will rise
For we know, joy is coming in the morning...
in the morning...

Steven Curtis Chapman