DayBreaks for 4/17/14 – When the Cheering Stopped

DayBreaks for 4/17/14 – When the Cheering Stopped

Some years ago a book was written by Gene Smith, a noted American historian. The title was “When The Cheering Stopped.” It was the story of President Woodrow Wilson and the events leading up to and following WWI. When that war was over Wilson was an international hero. There was a great spirit of optimism abroad, and people actually believed that the last war had been fought and the world had been made safe for democracy.

On his first visit to Paris after the war Wilson was greeted by cheering mobs. He was actually more popular than their own heroes. The same thing was true in England and Italy. In a Vienna hospital a Red Cross worker had to tell the children that there would be no Christmas presents because of the war and the hard times. The children didn’t believe her. They said that President Wilson was coming and they knew that everything would be all right.

The cheering lasted about a year. Then it gradually began to stop. It turned out that the political leaders in Europe were more concerned with their own agendas than they were a lasting peace. At home, Woodrow Wilson ran into opposition in the United States Senate and his League of Nations was not ratified. Under the strain of it all the President’s health began to break. In the next election his party was defeated. So it was that Woodrow Wilson, a man who barely a year or two earlier had been heralded as the new world Messiah, came to the end of his days a broken and defeated man.

It’s a sad story, but one that is not altogether unfamiliar. The ultimate reward for someone who tries to translate ideals into reality is apt to be frustration and defeat. There are some exceptions, of course, but not too many.

It happened that way to Jesus on this day about 2000 years ago.  The cheering stopped.  The yelling and accusations and curses were flying.  Lies were being told and believed.  Things were looking ominous and foreboding for the carpenter from Nazareth and his band of disciples. 

Little did they know that when they rose from their slumbers on this morning long ago what a long day this would be and what a drastic turn it would take.  Little would they have guessed that Jesus would wash their feet to quell an argument about who was the greatest.  Little did they realize that a betrayer was in their midst whose dastardly plan would be put into motion this very day.  They had no way of knowing that at this Passover feast, a new ordinance would be put into place that also involved the blood of a Lamb.  There was no way that they could have guessed that the quiet of the garden would be invaded by an armed cohort and that they would all melt away into the darkness, possessed and gripped by fear. 

Jesus knew.  But he didn’t tell them – probably because of his compassion for them and the knowledge that they couldn’t yet bear the truth.  He knew he’d be left abandoned by the time the next sun rose.

PRAYER: Jesus, I don’t know how you managed to live through this day so long ago, bearing in your heart the secret knowledge of what would happen!  There is no one like you and I give you my heartfelt gratitude!  Forgive us for the times when we melt away into the darkness because of our fears.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2014 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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