Last week I flew from Warsaw to Tel Aviv in order to spend Easter with my friends in Jerusalem. Sound exotic? Yes, it was. I’m still floating.But this is not a travel blog, though I dream of that. This is about an epiphany I’m still living with.
The plane was filled with Polish Jews and I reveled in the beautiful, exquisite atmosphere with the families mingling and smiling and comparing notes. “We’re going for Passover in Jerusalem then rent a car and travel further. What? You too?” Polish Jews have suffered so much in this country, and I could feel the pulsating home-coming atmosphere and was so happy for them.
Wedged between two pleasant gentlemen, one wearing a kippah and editing his movie of a rabbinical school, I opened my Bible to Luke’s account of the resurrection. I wanted to enter into the story as much as possible in the next several days. I wanted to hear and see and smell what Jesus and His loved ones did. (As it turned out, it seemed that I could only see the same sky they did, because not much else is the same, but that’s ok. The journeys of the heart are what really change us, I think, not a physical pilgrimage.)
Luke says the women found the tomb empty and heard the angels say that Jesus was no longer dead, and then went back to tell “all the others” about it. You know how women are when they get to be the first to tell someone their exciting news.
This was the best news that could ever happen, but Luke says that to the disciples, the women spoke idle tales.
Jesus had repeatedly confided in these men. He’d told them He would die and rise again. He’d done what He could to prepare them for the devastation they would feel, but it did not compute for them. Now this morning they were so crushed that they couldn’t let themselves believe what the women were saying.
Do you know how blankety-blank hard it is to sustain hope? It’s easier to write it off as nonsense and foolishness and tell yourself not to care anymore.
Mark says the disciples didn’t believe the women nor Cleopas and his friend from Emmaus who had walked and talked with Jesus that day. It’s impossible to believe news about a miracle when you watch your naked hopes dangle on a bloody cross in an earthquake.
When everything you counted on is gone.
When you don’t even have the remains of what you loved.
But Peter ran, Luke says. John’s version includes himself in the running. Peter had loved Jesus the most boisterously, the most rashly, and he couldn’t believe what he’d just heard but he had to check, just in case, and neither of the men could wait or walk calmly.
They ran, and I weep over their eagerness and their stunning courage. They ran head-long into the situation that held the potential to break their hearts even more–if it’s possible to break a heart that’s already shattered. There was no precedence for what Jesus did, and they had no proof of the women’s words being true.
Except they had Jesus’ words earlier, which is life and power in itself.
Wedged in a tight airplane seat, I tried surreptitiously to wipe my tears on my scarf because I didn’t want the men to get worried about me crying.(“No, no, I’m ok–I’m not scared of flying—everything’s ok!” I would have said.) But I can’t stop crying about it even now. There is maybe no other scene that speaks so powerfully to passion and longing and life than this one–of the men running toward what they couldn’t believe.
There are a thousand things I hope for myself and those I love. Sometimes I get a tiny glimpse of how things could be. How a miracle would change things for them or me, how we could enter more fully into what we were created for.
But it feels so impossible, so far away, that I write it off as pish-posh. Or I believe the lie that I don’t deserve these miracles. Or we’re not one of the lucky ones and God is handing out miracles to others but forgot about me and my people for awhile .
And lies and fanciful tales don’t sustain and don’t give life. In fact, they starve me. Poison my system. Shut me down. Keep me from running.
With the power that woke Jesus from the dead, I want to run toward His miracles. Not wait around and see what happens. Not discount it as excitable women’s words.
The best thing that could happen had just happened, and it was impossible and Peter couldn’t believe it, but he still ran, and by the Lion’s mane, I will too.
9 thoughts on “An Epiphany About Running”
Wonderful.. I believe I am a relative of Peter’s! I can identify with him so much!
Thank you for sharing.
beautiful. beautiful. beautiful.
I’m anxious to hear more about your trip. So good to “listen to” this from your heart!
I never thought about Peter running like this. Now I’m crying too. God IS good and he wants us to know it and live in hope, even of the impossible. Thanks for sharing!
I need to be reminded to run toward hope. Daily.
I have a lump in my throat.
There’s a miracle I’m praying for, and it recently occurred to me that, faith or no faith, this miracle may not happen. I’m struggling to find a balance between faith and trust–faith that God can do all things, trust that He knows what is best for us. Thank you for this reminder to runrunrun, even when I fear what I might learn in an early-morning cemetery.
The tension between faith and trust is one that is hard for an alive heart. How to keep hope without bleeding out empty? The good news is that even in an devastating empty tomb, we are never alone because HE is beside us. Always!
“Do you know how blankety-blank hard it is to sustain hope?”
It’s the hardest thing of all.