Did you know this day in history is referred to as “Silent Saturday”?
We are currently in the season of Lent as we lead up to Easter Sunday. Our church celebrated a beautifully thoughtful online service together last night in honor of Good Friday or Holy Friday: the day Jesus was crucified. We know Sunday is coming and we will celebrate that Jesus rose from the grave. But this day in the middle, this Saturday, is a day to remember the immense sadness, confusion and hopelessness the people of Jesus’ day would have felt.
They watched as the One they had hoped would save them was nailed to a cross and died. It’s easy for us, centuries later, to embrace the HOPE that Jesus did not stay in that grave but in fact did rise again. But the people who were there… they couldn’t quite wrap their minds around the whole thing yet. They believed He was the Messiah, the Son of God. They had seen Him do miracles. They had even watched Him bring people back to life.
But the entirety of who Jesus was and what He was doing was not fully clear to them yet. And on this day in-between, they sat in silence. Mourning, grieving, and not knowing what tomorrow would hold.
This day-in-between lends us a much needed reminder. There is a tension that we face when we sit in-between where we are and where we want to be. And that tension needs to be embraced. Silence, for many of us, is quite uncomfortable. We want answers and we want them now. Yet, we must wait. And embrace the tension. And accept that, in this moment, we don’t yet know what the next step is or what tomorrow will bring or take away.
While we are fortunate now to know the next step for Jesus after His death and burial was His resurrection, we are living in that “in-between tension” of not knowing what the next step is for our world as we face the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, we are holding tensions that would have been there with or without the great shutdown of 2020.
Were you waiting on a job offer or promotion?
Is your marriage on the brink of divorce?
Are you struggling to parent a needy, wayward, disabled or special needs child?
Is there someone you need to forgive but the pain and bitterness you hold make it feel impossible?
Are you waiting on test results from the doctor?
Are you or a loved one fighting a life-threatening illness?
Have you been praying, begging God to… and your prayers seem to go unanswered?
Waiting is hard. It can be painful, confusing and frustrating.
God knew we would feel tension during these in-between moments. That’s why looking to His Word for wisdom, peace and encouragement is so crucial. The Scriptures are not just a collection of words documenting the life and ministry of Jesus. They are the living-breathing inspiration of God Himself to strengthen us through every trial we face: yesterday, today and every day of our lives.
After Jesus’ death, burial, resurrection and ascension back to Heaven, His disciples faced deeply challenging trials in spreading word of what Jesus did for us. Many of them faced imprisonment, torture and death proclaiming His name. But because they had been filled with the HOPE of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit, no trial was too big for them to face. Even facing death itself, they held onto the HOPE that Jesus was true to His promise. He was not only strengthening them through His Spirit here on Earth, He was preparing a place for them in Heaven where they would be with Him forevermore once their time on Earth was done.
That same HOPE and power that filled the disciples with the strength to endure the trials they faced is available and at the ready for us through the Holy Spirit. And their words from thousands of years ago ring true for us today:
We know that the same God who brought the Lord Jesus back from death will also bring us back to life again with Jesus and present us to him along with you. These sufferings of ours are for your benefit. And the more of you who are won to Christ, the more there are to thank him for his great kindness, and the more the Lord is glorified.
That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our inner strength in the Lord is growing every day. These troubles and sufferings of ours are, after all, quite small and won’t last very long. Yet this short time of distress will result in God’s richest blessing upon us forever and ever! So we do not look at what we can see right now, the troubles all around us, but we look forward to the joys in heaven which we have not yet seen. The troubles will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever.2 Corinthians 4:14-18
Today we wait in silence.
But the story is not over.
Tomorrow we celebrate that Jesus Is RISEN. And because He lives, we can face, not only tomorrow, but today – in the waiting, in the middle, in the tension of the “in-between.” Because HE LIVES.
Dear friend, I pray that as you wait, as you sit in the tension of the “in-between”, you will be comforted that these current trials and this current darkness will not last forever. I pray you can reframe this time and find the sacredness of this space. God is with you in the waiting, in the tension, in the pain, confusion and frustration. And He longs to strengthen and help you. (Isaiah 41:10)
Happy Easter, dear ones!