Out of the Depths: The Truth that Goes Before Us

Julie Silander Devotional

This devotional, artwork, and music is a part of the Out of the Depths project.

“Is Daddy going to be ok?”

At 10:30 p.m. on December 23, one of my children was brave enough to utter the burning question that I didn’t have the courage to ask. I was scrambling to get out of our house and follow the ambulance to the emergency room. Only minutes earlier, my healthy, strong, full-of-life husband had suffered a stroke. I had no idea what the next hours and days would hold. But the question demanded an answer.

How does a parent offer hope and comfort when the reality of circumstance is a dangerously wild animal—unpredictable and threatening to destroy more than we could bear to imagine?

We plan and read parenting articles and labor over decisions that we think will define our kids’ lives, but the truest tests of parenting (and of life) arrive unannounced and unanticipated. Pop quizzes turn out to be final exams, revealing the truest truths about what we believe.

Every fiber of my momma-being wanted to reassure my children that everything would be ok. That they had nothing to worry about. I wanted that same reassurance for myself. But somehow, we all would have known that I was offering a shiny pink band-aid to cover the gaping wound inflicted by the children in the Garden.

“I don’t know,” I responded. “But we’ll pray that he’ll be ok, and no matter what happens, the Lord loves us and will provide what we need.”

In the days and weeks that followed, my hopeful declaration proved to be true. The Christ we’ve read about and talked about and sung about is, indeed, alive and with us. He loves us and provides, even in the most unthinkable circumstances, all that we need.

The Gospel of Mark assures that “He has risen…he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you” (16:6-7 ESV).

Eugene Peterson offers a tangible, real-life application:

In every visit, every meeting I attend, every appointment I keep, I have been anticipated. The risen Christ got there ahead of me. The risen Christ is in that room already. What is he doing? What is he saying? What is going on?. . . I have taken to quoting before every visit or meeting: ‘He is risen. . . he is going before you to 1020 Emmorton Road; there you will see him as he told you.’ Later in the day it will be: ‘He is risen . . . he is going before you to St. John’s hospital; there you will see him, as he told you.’ When I arrive and enter the room, I am not so much wondering what I am going to do or say that will be pastoral as I am alert and observant for what the risen Christ has been doing that is making a gospel story out of this life.

The promise is true.

“He is risen. . . he is going to the bonus room, where you’ll tell your children goodbye and answer hard, hard questions, before you.”

“He is risen. . . he is going to the emergency room before you.”

“He is risen. . . he is going to the neuro-intensive care unit before you.”

“He is risen. . . he is going into your children’s bedrooms, steeped with fear and tears on behalf of their beloved daddy, before you.”

“He is risen. . . he is going to every speech therapy and cardiologist and neurologist appointment before you.”

“He is risen. . . he is going to all the places where you’ll be faced with unknowns—about health and work and life in the future—before you.”

It’s the answer to all the pop quizzes that life will spring upon you and upon me:

He is risen.

And he is going before you.

Tell it out with joyful voice:

He has burst His three days’ prison;

Let the whole wide earth rejoice:

Death is conquered, we are free,

Christ has won the victory.

Out of the Depths Week 6

Artwork: Diane Cox (see artwork)

Christ is Risen

In the fullness of time, at the propitious time,

God sent his son

Who was born of a virgin, a miraculous birth

Who lived a life full of grace and truth, holy and blameless, a miraculous life

Christ Jesus, God’s own redemption plan in accordance with the working of the strength of His might

Which He brought about in Christ when He raised Him from the dead, miraculous power

He led captive a host of captives

He gave gifts to men, along with those first to hope in Christ

That we might walk in a manner worthy of our calling with all

humility and gentleness with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love

being diligent to preserve the unity in the bond of peace

For this He died, miraculous love

To the praise of His glory

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the Heavenly places in Christ

Taken from: The book of Ephesians

Devotional: Julie Silander

Music: Words by Cecil F. Alexander, Music by Stewart Fenters