I can’t help remembering an episode of the reality TV show “I Shouldn’t Be Alive” I saw a couple of months ago. A man and a woman, beginning scuba divers, were left behind by their boat twenty miles out to sea. Swimming in the ocean and scuba diving freaks me out anyhow, not something I’m too keen on. It was a hopeless, scary situation. They prayed for rescue and just tried to hold on, but hours later, as night fell, it was apparent that nobody was going to come. They were hungry, thirsty, exhausted, and very, very afraid. They had to face a long dark night afloat in the ocean, fighting panic and exhaustion. They finally made the difficult decision to begin swimming in the direction of the land, knowing what a futile effort it was, and that their movement would create an attraction for sharks.
My stomach was in knots as I watched, and yes, the sharks did find them. They watched the dorsal fins circling about them, only imagining the size of the bodies beneath the water. They felt them brush against their feet, screaming in panicked desperation—there was no one who could save them. Miraculously, the sharks did not attack, and when, hours later, the sky begin to turn light and the sun arose, there was a brief time of increased hopefulness, which was quickly dashed after an hour of hard swimming seemed to get them no closer to the distant shore.
Hours later, however, exhausted, the shore did draw close. They were elated again, until they realized that the shore was not a gentle sand beach they could land on, but jagged cliffs that the waves were crashing into. Their bodies would be broken into pieces if they approached. Wrenching despair and disappointment and great fear…..but SUDDENLY!!!
A BOAT appeared out of nowhere. Fishermen, who saw them, and pulled up beside them, and hoisted their exhausted bodies out of the water, as they were too depleted to help themselves at all. They wrapped blankets around them and laid them in the bottom of the boat, gave them bottles of fresh water. And the poor man and woman were overcome with laughter, emotion draining from their bodies, not knowing anything else to do, they laughed and laughed and laughed.
Immediately, I thought of Psalm 126:
“When the Lord brought back his exiles to Jerusalem, It was like a dream!
We were filled with laughter, and we sang for joy.
And the other nations said, ‘What amazing things the Lord has done for them.’
Yes, the Lord has done amazing things for us! What joy!”
And today, I also think of the disciples on Good Friday. They were devastated. Their ideas about the Messiah, this great revolutionary who was going to restore the fortunes of Israel, were dashed on the rocks. They had sacrificed everything, and it was all in vain. They were probably going to die with him too. There was no way out. There was no one to save. Their Messiah had failed, or so they thought.
Just a few days later, their King would rise from the dead, and they would begin to understand that they really hadn’t understood anything at all! I imagine they laughed, just like the stranded scuba divers, just like the exiled Israelites, the laughter of their world being turned upside down, or more correctly, turned rightside up. Their Savior had done it! Their Messiah had conquered death and the grave. And the story never gets old, as we celebrate once again the Resurrection of the Son of God and the victory of the cross. Thank you Jesus!!!!