As we approach Easter, I have been thinking about the reality of those few days, Friday to Sunday, and what they must have meant for the disciples.
For us, Easter is a yearly rhythm in which we celebrate a truth we set our lives on. We know the end of the story. For the disciples it was probably the hardest weekend of their lives. From 2000 years later the story looks glossy and shiny, but for the disciples ‘Easter’ was reality.
I imagine the loss and confusion they must have felt that Friday; the Friday that we have the luxury of hindsight to enable us to call ‘Good’. I can imagine the confusion the disciples must have experienced on Saturday after Jesus had died. And I really can’t imagine what they must have experienced when they saw Jesus alive and raised to life.
We spend a lot of time talking about Friday and Sunday, but I can’t stop thinking about that Saturday.
Imagine the real tension the disciples faced. How was Saturday lived out? Sorrow? Sleep? Normal routine? What must have crossed their minds? They knew the prophecy that Jesus would be brought to life but did that feel real to them that day?
Most of my days look like “Saturday”. I have spent no shortage of days living in waiting to see the promises of God fulfilled. Whether I see my child holding fast to his intelligence and I am begging God to save him or I am in the grocery line with my crying toddler begging God to save me, I feel like I’m living in between Friday and Sunday of this Easter story. Like the disciples, I have the guarantee of the end of the story, but I live in the middle.
Like them I spend a lot of my time in the aftermath of loss, waiting for the relief of restoration. I face my failure and sin with the promise of forgiveness, but without the reality of full deliverance yet. I experience the pain of death, watch my mother take her last breath, all with the comfort of the promises, but I still have to wait for the relief of resurrection.
Between loss and fulfillment comes the gift of hope: Saturday with all of its tension.
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I used to be afraid of the word “tension” but this last year it has become a word that brings about a real hope.
Tension feels like our worst enemy but it is actually the very thing that pivots life into new things and lets hope rise. Tension brings about a bitter taste we hate and yet produces a longing. It is in the bitter and the sweet that we find the aroma of Christ. The tension of that Saturday was a gift to the disciples: one last opportunity to walk by a faith that was not by sight.
I remember waiting for our son to come home from Haiti. It was the longest “Saturday” I have ever experienced. I would fall in the floor begging God to help me believe that He was in fact doing something. To help me believe that Sunday was coming. Too often, I would become apathetic, just accepting this Saturday as my new reality because hoping for Sunday was just too painful.
But Saturday isn’t just a season to get through. It is a necessary link between Friday and Sunday.
God tells us that He is doing something in our tension: He is producing longing, hope, faith, even joy, (Romans 5). He told the disciples this before he went to the cross. (John 16)
As daughters, we have a sure and steadfast anchor for our souls. The Holy Spirit is our comforter and helper, He will remind us of Jesus so that we might have encouragement to hold fast to the hope that is set before us. (John 14, Hebrews 6)
Whether the disciples felt it, knew it or saw it, the veil had been torn and God was there on Saturday and doing something for the hearts of His children.
On my Saturdays, I am learning to cry out “Abba, father! Daddy, See! Come! Help! Save!” I am learning to trust that He is working and He hears me. I am learning to trust that Sunday is coming. He is coming. I am learning to wait and experience Saturday as a gift. Tension is doing something. God is producing a hope that doesn’t disappoint and a hope that won’t put me to shame.
As we wait to celebrate tomorrow our Risen King, lets consider our Saturdays and may the God of hope fill us with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit we will abound in hope until He comes. (Romans 15:13)
Come Lord Jesus.
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