Some years ago I read “The Secret Garden” to my third graders and they were spellbound. What made it so special was that the garden had a magic key that if found would open the door. A robin digging in the dirt revealed its contents and was indeed the key to a  neglected but beautiful garden. She transformed it into a garden of delight and reunited a father and son.

In John 19, we meet the religious leaders who sought to have Christ crucified so they would not be defiled. Yet, two others, who were “secret disciples” reminded  them that this was not “kosher.” These unknowables became notables by their actions on a late afternoon. They shook off their silence and boldly went to Pilate with their request that they alone be allowed to remove Christ from the cross and bury Him. By this, they along with Pilate were saying the execution was unjustified. By this, they became the true defiled as they handled the dead body of our Lord and Savior, Yet their outward defilement was cleansed by the Savior’s blood shed on that cross. By this, the True Passover was handled gently by their hands. By this, they chose to stand alone and risk rejection but their outward loss became their inward gain. By this, they were exclaiming I once stood silent but I will be silent no more when God opens the door of divine opportunity.

God’s ways are not our ways. As man was birthed in a garden and then died in a garden, so a dead man would be buried in a “secret garden” owned by a “secret disciple” whose faith was blooming to be ‘re-birthed’ in that same garden three days later. They may not have voiced their faith openly while the man Jesus was alive but now they would seek to bury him with dignity. They bravely sought a private audience with Pilate and opened their coffers of rich spices and found a place of burial, a neglected but prepared “garden” tomb.

Where have you been silent when you could have spoken?

Are you also a “secret disciple” expecting another to come to Christ without your testimony and let a divine opportunity to pass by?

Learn from these two so you will not have to hear in eternity: why did you not tell me about Jesus?

1 Peter 3:13

Peter asked the persecuted believers to ponder this question:  “For who is going to harm you if you are devoted to what is good?”

But many want to understand: How can God allow believers to be so harmed?

The first step, which Brian Seagraves reminds us in his recent podcast, is to get the details. What is the harm they are referring to? What have they done that proves their devotion? What is their standard? Is it God’s standard?   These types of questions may cause a time of being uncomfortable but they are needed and necessary because many people are just rehearsing what they hear and are not processing what is really behind those statements. This is what we call “group think.”

Both Paul and Peter addressed this question in Romans and in 1Peter.

First, when we are being persecuted know that we are not alone in this battle. The Holy Spirit is there even when we are weak. [Rom 8:26] Secondly, if God gave up His most precious gift for our salvation will He not also provide a way of escape for us who are being harmed? He will not let you be tried beyond what you are able to bear, but with the trial will also provide a way out so that you may be able to endure it. [1Cor 10] And lastly as Peter said, God has a protection plan designed just for us. So ask yourself; If God is for us, who can be against us? The answer is no one.

Remember that God’s ways are not our ways, His plan is higher and better than anything we could even imagine. Isaiah 55:8