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Somewhere Between Yesterday’s Tragedy and Tomorrow’s Triumph

Your Encouraging Word fromMax Lucado’s Encouraging Word Bible, NIV

How far can we go with verses like this one: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Rom. 8:28)? Does “all things” include tumors and tests and tempers and terminations? John would answer yes. John would tell you that God can turn any tragedy into a triumph, if only you will wait and watch.

John’s Tragedy

Could there have been a greater tragedy for John than a dead Jesus? Three years earlier John had turned his back on his career and cast his lot with this Nazarene carpenter. Earlier in the week John had enjoyed a tickertape parade as Jesus and the disciples entered Jerusalem. Oh, how quickly things had turned! The people who had called Him king on Sunday called for His death the following Friday. These linens were a tangible reminder that his friend and his future were wrapped in cloth and sealed behind a rock.

John didn’t know on that Friday what you and I now know. He didn’t know that Friday’s tragedy would be Sunday’s triumph. John would later confess that he “did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead” (John 20:9).

That’s why what he did on Saturday is so important.

John Didn’t Leave

We don’t know anything about this day; we have no passage to read, no knowledge to share. All we know is this: When Sunday came, John was still present. When Mary Magdalene came looking for him, she found him.

Jesus was dead. The Master’s body was lifeless. John’s friend and future were buried. But John had not left. Why? Was he waiting for the resurrection? No. As far as he knew, the lips were forever silent and the hands forever still. He wasn’t expecting a Sunday surprise. Then why was he here?

You’d think he would have left. Who was to say that the men who crucified Christ wouldn’t come after him? The crowds were pleased with one crucifixion; the religious leaders might have called for more. Why didn’t John get out of town?

Perhaps the answer was pragmatic; perhaps he was taking care of Jesus’ mother. Or perhaps he didn’t have anywhere else to go. Could be he didn’t have any money or energy or direction . . . or all of the above.

Or maybe he lingered because he loved Jesus.

Jesus Was His Friend

To others, Jesus was a miracle worker. To others, Jesus was a master teacher. To others, Jesus was the hope of Israel. But to John, He was all of these and more. To John, Jesus was a friend.

You don’t abandon a friend—not even when that friend is dead. John stayed close to Jesus.

He had a habit of doing this. He was close to Jesus in the upper room. He was close to Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. He was at the foot of the Cross at the crucifixion, and he was a quick walk from the tomb at the burial.

Did he understand Jesus? No.

Was he glad Jesus did what He did? No.

But did he leave Jesus? No.

What About You?

What about you? When you’re in John’s position, what do you do? When it’s Saturday in your life, how do you react? When you are somewhere between yesterday’s tragedy and tomorrow’s triumph, what do you do? Do you leave God—or do you linger near Him?

John chose to linger. And because he lingered on Saturday, he was around on Sunday to see the miracle. When life takes a negative turn, God can turn heartache (Ruth 1:21) into blessing (4:14–15).

Which takes us back to the question. Could God do something similar in your life? Could He take what today is a token of tragedy and turn it into a symbol of triumph?  Do you feel like God’s abandoned you? Don’t give up! Pray that He will give you the patience to see the situation through, and thank Him in advance for what He is going to do.



Content in this post taken from The Lucado Encouraging Word Bible. The Lucado Encouraging Word Bible is designed to encourage believers along their journey with the Lord. Max Lucado’s warm, conversational style ensures that the marginal notes, short articles, and various study tools meet you where you are, providing encouragement and insight. This Bible will strengthen you as you follow the included reading plan and incorporate this Bible into your daily devotional life. The 30-day study guide will help you jumpstart this practice. This Bible will help you as a believer, and with Pastor Lucado’s gentle yet powerful notes, it’s a beautiful gift for your non-believing friends and family who could use some encouragement with Scripture.

20 comments on “Somewhere Between Yesterday’s Tragedy and Tomorrow’s Triumph

  1. Phelgona Okonjo says:

    Thanks to you pastor Lucado.i have been down spiritually.i have been having a lot of ups and downs.my financial situation has been very bad to an extent of not been able to even to provide all the 3 meals for my kids.but after going through this article,I thank my Lord I have been encouraged and feel strong and now optimistic that my tragedy will tomorrow change to a triumph in Jesus mighty name.

  2. Kathy Kelley says:

    Wonderful encouragement thank you!

  3. Sharon Flournoy says:

    Thank you! I needed to hear this.

  4. John Ansah - Sasraku says:

    The story I have just read is very encouraging. Thanks and God richly bless you.

  5. Bonnie says:

    I am in my Saturday. I have been for over a year now. I am in between the tragedy of my husband leaving our home and the promise from God for a restored marriage. The wait is hard and long some days more than I feel like I can bare. I would be lying if I didn’t say I wanted to end it all. But God always meets me where I am lifts me up and helps through another day. Till my Sunday comes glory to God

  6. Zipporah kaara says:

    Thanks a very encouraging piece wil trust in God in all things there is hope for tomorrow no matter what am going through today

  7. Josephine Mwikali Wright says:

    Thanks alot for this. It reminded me of the song”What a friend we have in Jesus”. and also”My tomorrow is better than today “

  8. Otei Ojei says:

    Faith and patience will always deliver the promise given, for He that has promised can be trusted.
    May the Holy Spirit strengthen us as we wait for tomorrow’s triumph.

    Thank you Pastor Lucado!

  9. Jennifer Plasky says:

    Thank you for this enlightening message.

  10. Tina trice says:

    Although i have felt abandoned for a major portion i know that my best friend, lover, and that my husband Jesus Christ my God will never abandon my but only restore me and redeem me unto to himself in his Father our God to be with him forever in Gods holy and worthy and blessed kingdom. In jesus mame i pray amen.

  11. Ron Shriner says:

    My tragedy began on Nov 20, 2019. My wife of 53 years was called home to be with the Lord. My world fell apart, a black cloud hung over me. But, like John, I did not leave the Lord. I drew myself closer to Him. I have prayed for the patience, strength and wisdom to overcome this tragedy. My world is slowly coming back together and the black cloud is slowly receding. I know I must be patient and wait for God. In the meantime, I have become more involved in church. I have faith in God, He has some a wonderful future for me.

    1. Nick at Thomas Nelson Bibles says:

      So sorry for your loss. We pray that you find peace and love in God!

  12. Tryson Mwape says:

    Thank you so much for the encouragement scriptures, God bless you always.

  13. Lucky martins says:

    Thank you for touching me spiritually

  14. Anto says:

    Beautiful encouragement Pastor. Really made me think. Poweful word of God.

    Thank you so much. May God bless with more encouraging words to uplift His people and to keep on believing since so many of God’s children are facing many challenges.


  15. Kathy D Swaringen says:

    The story is so inspirational. Like in the story that John didn’t leave, I know Jesus will never leave us. He will always be there. Praise God. Thanks so much for this story. God bless you.

  16. Bolu David says:

    I thank God for this article, on Sunday at church these were the words I got from God too from the Bible reading and message from our teenagers’ teacher. My earthly father was killed also on a Friday and at a time that seemed like the best period of our lives. Three months down the line, I can see that God is speaking to me for the second time this week that my Dad is in heaven now, “For my good” . And, I’m praying for the grace to wait till the morning. Thank you sir for these great words of encouragement…Once has God spoken, twice have I heard.

  17. OkpulorDC says:

    Peace be still! Thanks so much. Love answers to all things. And love like hope never fails; faith like wisdom applied leads to more fruitful life. Am encouraged in the Lord! Peace and grace be to all who genuinely love our Lord Jesus Christ Amen!

  18. Marcella says:

    Thank you for your wisdom.

  19. Bolajoko Olugbile says:

    Inspiring! Thanks for the encouragement words. Really a timely word. The word of God renews everyday even if it was written about two months ago!

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