Six Hours One Friday
Well. I did it. Got a used copy of this book by Max Lucado (1989). First work of his which I have ever read. Well worth the reading!
The six hours of course are the hours at Calvary leading to the death of our Saviour. Strange hours filled with rude catcalls, mourning women, a repentant criminal, eerie darkness at noon and finally an earthquake and a roaring cry, seemingly of victory, from the man on the middle cross.
From this crystallized moment in history, Lucado wants us to realize three things. Life is not futile (he tells the story of the woman at the Samaritan well, John 4). Failures are not irreversible (he tells the story of the prodigal son, Luke 15). Death is not final (he tells the story of the raising from death of the twelve year-old daughter of rabbi Jairus, Luke 8). He concludes with the observations of the Roman centurion at the foot of the Cross, and his conclusion, "Truly this man was the Son of God", Mark 15).
It was interesting to see Lucado put a modern twist on the story of Jairus' daughter. Here a present-day pastor named Wallace had gotten the news that his precious twelve year-old daughter had lapsed into a coma. He despairs in his rector's study at the church. News gets to him that the teaching-healing evangelist Jesus has just arrived at the bus terminal on the other side of town. Wallace swallows his pride and his previous denunciations of this strange and dusty itinerant preacher, and crosses town to the crowded bedlam of the terminal, begging Jesus for help for his child. Jesus immediately agrees and accompanies him to the car, but not before responding to the touch of faith from a frail young woman with strange garb, dreadlocks in her hair and AIDS...
The final images are intended to rob death of its power and paralyzing grasp. Lucado recalls the death-bed of his father, a faithful man suffering the ravages of Lou Gehrig's disease. Lucado is called bedside at a moment of lucidity. The father's eyes rest upon his son. He cannot speak. But the look in his eyes is recognized from Max's past. An encouraging look. He remembers a community swimming pool and an eight year-old shuffling for the first time to the end of the diving board. Terrified and shivering he weighs the prospect of turning around and coming back down. But some friends behind are now laughing.
Suddenly below and swimming, there appears his father. With that look in his eyes, saying, "Jump in Max. It'll be alright." The eight year-old gulps and accomplishes his first jump off the high board.
This morning I was awakened long before sun-up and I finished the book. The hope of Easter is large in this message. All does not end in an abysmal darkness. Outside my open window I could hear a single robin announcing the dawning, hours before it would arise. Spring-time. Robins. Easter. Morning. God is so good!