It’s the middle of the day, but the sun is nowhere to be seen. The atmosphere feels eerie, unnatural, but even more concerning is the empty ache inside you. A loss so deep that every breath feels laden with despair.
You had had so much hope.
And now you stand on a hill outside your town, with all your hopes in front of you . . . dying. Nailed to a wooden beam, tortured, and bleeding.
You had hoped for thirty-three years, and now here you are, standing with two other women in total shock and horror. All your hopes for the future, your expectation of what was to come, were dying with your oldest son, Jesus.
Was God Lying?
Christmas is over, and your nativity scene is probably stored away in its box. Songs about Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus lying in a manger have ceased playing on the radio, and a new year is in full swing. But have you ever looked beyond the birth story of Jesus and considered how the fresh hope of a coming Savior might’ve felt stolen when He was dying on the cross?
In December, I wrote a post about Mary’s radical trust in God’s plan. And recently, as I was sitting at a little coffee shop near my hometown, I realized something: Mary didn’t just have to trust God at the birth of Christ; she had to trust way beyond those nine months.
Let’s look at a quick recap of what God said to Mary before Jesus was born in Luke 1:
- She had found favor with God (v. 30).
- She would give birth to the Son of God (vv. 31–32).
- God would give Him the throne of King David (v. 32).
- His kingdom will never end (v. 33).
Mary must have been shocked and amazed and scared all at once. But she believed. She said “yes” to God even when she didn’t know what that obedience would look like (Luke 1:38).
Now let’s turn our gaze to the crucifixion, Jesus’ death on the cross. It’s been thirty-three years since the birth of Jesus, since Mary was told her son’s kingdom would have no end. But now He’s dying on the cross at the hands of Roman soldiers and Jewish religious leaders. She must have wondered, “Did I hear the angel wrong?”
Was God lying when He made those promises to Mary? Did He mess up? Far from the happy ending that was expected, this “ending” was an unimaginable nightmare.
- Jesus had been betrayed by one of His disciples and hadn’t fought back (Matt. 26:47–56).
- He was supposed to rule the kingdom, yet He was dying the gruesome death of a criminal (Matt. 27:24–26).
- How could the Son of God be killed by the Romans and an angry mob? Wasn’t He stronger than that (Matt. 27:32–44)?
It might’ve seemed like everything God had promised was being trampled by human evil.
Mary knew Scripture; she would’ve been familiar with the Old Testament prophecy of the Messiah’s death. She surely heard Jesus’ words about being killed and rising again three days later. But even with those promises, the outcome would’ve looked bleak when Mary saw Jesus’ lifeless body on the cross.
Were God’s promises proving false? Did she doubt God’s plan in those dark hours and following days?
But that wasn’t the end of Mary’s story! Three days later, Jesus was alive again, resurrected from the tomb, and the world had changed forever. His death and resurrection bridged the chasm that stood between us and God.
We Can Have Unshakeable Hope
Mary couldn’t see the outcome ahead of time. She couldn’t see the miracle of Jesus rising from the dead when she was staring at the three crosses on Golgotha. She needed faith to trust that God knew what He was doing—that He would come through and do what He said He would do.
We can relate to those tests of faith, can’t we? We have so much hope in a situation, and then suddenly it seems like God has forgotten us, left us hanging—or let us fall altogether. Hope is fading fast . . .
Those are the moments where we can either doubt God, or we can choose to believe God’s promises in faith—even when things look bleak.
Like Mary, we don’t have all the details. We don’t know just how our story will play out. But here’s what we can know: No matter what in your life is falling apart, we always have hope. Because God’s promises never fail. Ever. (PS: We also know the end of this world’s story! Jesus is the King of kings. He’s got the ultimate outcome under control!)
Reminding ourselves of God’s hope-filled promises can provide perspective and help focus our hearts on what’s true. I’d encourage you to write at least a few of these promises down. Stick them on your mirror, put them on your phone Wallpaper, or write them on a card and stick it in your purse.
We don’t know exactly what our stories hold, but we can have an unshakeable hope in Jesus! Let’s bathe our hearts in these truths:
Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you (Ps. 31:19).
“I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you” (Josh. 1:5).
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand (Isa. 41:10).
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you” (Isa. 43:2).
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. . . . For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:28, 30).
“Instead the LORD your God turned the curse into a blessing for you, because the LORD your God loved you” (Deut. 23:5).
“I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins” (Isa. 43:25).
“Fear not, nor be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it?. . . Is there a God besides me? There is no Rock; I know not any” (Isa. 44:8).
“Even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save” (Isa. 46:4).
“They will fight against you, but they shall not prevail over you, for I am with you to save you and deliver you, declares the LORD” (Jer. 15:20).
Have your hopes been dashed recently? Are you doubting God’s plan? Let’s hold fast to Truth—God always keeps His promises.