What does your life look like on the other side of Resurrection Sunday? Each year, we have high hopes as we celebrate Jesus’ sacrifice and victory. We anticipate new life breathed into our circumstances that desperately need a change. But when the day passes by with little discernible improvement, it can be a serious disappointment.
What if the calendar gets stuck on “Somber Saturday?” For some of us this mournful day nestled between Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday is an every-day reality.
Can you imagine the confusion and sorrow that must have smothered the disciples and all those who loved the Rabbi from Nazareth on this dreadful Saturday that reeks of death?
Many believed that Jesus was the Son of God, come to save the Hebrew nation from the scourge of Roman rule. Little did they realize that this lofty hope was too small a calling, too small a mission for the one true Messiah.
They did not yet comprehend the magnitude of what was being accomplished — the Lamb had come to earth, God made flesh, to rescue ALL people for ALL time from the scourge of sin, death, sickness, evil and hatred. This was no small political coup. Instead, God was plotting full-blown redemption.
But imagine this day before resurrection with the horror of the cross freshly seared in their minds. Jesus’ followers must have despaired that all was lost. Their Hero, their Hope was dead, laying lifeless in a tomb. Their dreams perished with Him.
I imagine the feelings of betrayal, “But God, we believed! We thought Jesus was the Messiah, yet He failed us. You failed us.”
I would have been right there with the disciples — accusation and despair on my lips. The view from Somber Saturday is dark indeed.
Some of you have felt stuck in this somber season for far too long. Your hope has grown cold. Sunday seems never to come.
You desire to wait well, but how long can you sustain hope? Proverbs 13:12 makes it clear that “hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” (ESV) The Hebrew word “deferred” means delayed, prolonged, or dragged out. Sound familiar?
When prolonged circumstances drag on and on, we need help to trust that God sees us. We need help to believe that He is good. We need reassurance that He has not given up on us. Otherwise we can easily slip into despair when our circumstances look hopeless.
But what if the hopeless situation is actually the path to overcoming?
What if death is going to yield new life?
What if there is beauty hidden in those ashes?
I don’t know what path you are walking today. Just like the disciples, you may feel that your dreams have died, that your hope has perished. You may be afraid and angry that you see only loss, sickness, death, and darkness around you.
And you may be right in your assessment. On this day, Jesus’ beloved followers, family, and friends could all point to the reality of the lifeless body that lay in a dead-man’s tomb.
But what does tomorrow hold?
Those wrapped in grief and shock did not know what was to come. All they knew was that Jesus was dead. He had “failed” in the smaller mission that they assumed was His calling, but when the sun rose on the third day, Jesus too would rise and crush the power of sin and death once and for all.
None of us knows when at last we will see our own Resurrection Sunday. We cannot predict how many days, months, or even years of perseverance will be required to wait well.
But we do know that God is able to empower us: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 (NIV)
Today may you be filled with hopeful expectancy to ask, “What does tomorrow hold, God? Help me to persevere. I don’t want to give up the day before the miracle.”
Instead of fear, I want to trust.
Instead of doubt, I want to believe.
Instead of giving up, I will stand firm.
Your love never fails.
Your mercies are never-ending.
You are writing my resurrection story.
God’s love for you is the most powerful force in the universe. He is jealous for you to know Him as Savior because there is no other substitute savior who can save well.
He loves you too much to allow any other substitute savior to succeed. When a Somber Saturday drags on and on, it is tempting to grasp for a savior that you can see and organize for yourself: just a little more money, better health, more education, marriage, or children . . . I just need a break!
However, if your resurrection is dependent on any of these substitute saviors, then you are trapped. If you can’t organize them, you are stuck.
Instead, God desires that your Somber Saturday helps to create in you an unshakable strength of character that will enable you to persevere in His strength regardless of the circumstances you face.
Maybe this is the miracle.
“We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5:3-5 (NIV)
I bless you with eyes to see how God is writing your redemption story, with hope to believe that your Resurrection Sunday is near.