The Book of John, Chapter 19, verses 38 - 42 tells the story of how Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus got permission from Pontius Pilate to recover Jesus's body and to prepare it for burial. Both men were leaders in the Jewish community who had secretly become Jesus's disciples.
The Bible doesn't say much about why these men kept their allegiances to Jesus secret, but given that Jesus was rejected by the majority of their peers, family, and traditions, they may have hidden their support of His cause for strategic purposes.
Whatever their reasoning, Chapter 19 finds them as caretakers of a dead Messiah.
I imagine this outcome was much different than what either man expected of Jesus. Nicodemus was a celebrated teacher of Scripture. Joseph was a member of the ruling elite, undoubtedly learned and influential. They may have had notions of Jesus eventually establishing His kingdom on earth in a physical way, of overthrowing the Romans, or of fulfilling all messianic Scriptures in their lifetimes.
They certainly didn't expect to bury the Messiah. So, what do you do when your experience with God doesn't add up to your way of thinking?
These men did three things that are useful:
They faced the facts. Their reality probably didn't line up with their expectations, but they still faced reality. They approached Pontius Pilate and took care of business. Disappointment can cause us to shut down. It can also spark renewed courage or reveal new perspectives if we let it.
They exercised faith. The Book of Hebrews says that faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. Jesus was either the Messiah as they believed him to be or he wasn't. They would have to learn to put their faith in the unseen. They would have to choose to still believe.
They acted on their faith. Belief is always demonstrated by action (or inaction). That's why it's wise to listen carefully to what people say. But equally shrewd to observe what they do. In faith, Nicodemus and Joseph stepped up at a time when it was extremely dangerous to identify as a Jesus follower. Later, at the resurrection of Christ, their faith was publicly rewarded, but they acted in faith at a time when it would appear their hope was dead.
Hope is never lost when you put your faith in Jesus!
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13