By Sammie Franks, Abundant Life: You Were Made for More Creator
This is the war: every moment of every day, we must make the all-important choice of whether we will rely on the naked eye. Will we trust what we can see is there, or believe what God says is there? It’s a decision we are continually confronted with.
The apostle Paul put it this way: “So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”2 Corinthians 4:18, NLT
It’s Easter week – or in other words, it’s my favorite week of the year! I’ve been reflecting on the entirety of Easter weekend – Friday, Saturday, AND Sunday. Friday has a name. It’s called Good. Sunday has a name. It’s called Easter. Saturday, though, sometimes gets lost in the midst of things. I want to caution us as we move toward Resurrection Day, not to miss the importance of the day that comes before it.
Between Jesus’ burial on Friday and His resurrection on Sunday, there was Saturday. Good Friday is famous, and Easter Sunday is awesome, so we understandably think and talk about these two days most often. But in between, there is this day that doesn’t get a lot of play.
I’ve been thinking – what would I have been doing if I was alive when Jesus was crucified – before I actually knew He was coming back? That Saturday must have been a day of crushing disappointment. It was a time when promises had been made but were not yet fulfilled. Jesus had said He would come back. He had said death wouldn’t be the end of the story. He had promised that if the temple of His body were to be torn down, it would be rebuilt. But He hadn’t risen yet. All day Saturday, Jesus’ spirit was in Heaven with His Father and with the thief on the cross. But for His disciples, Saturday was filled with nothing but loss. Jesus’ body lay dead, decaying and cold. On Saturday, the rock in front of the tomb embodied the death of all their dreams and Jesus’ promise of a resurrection seemed absurd. Sunday was coming, but it wasn’t there yet.
I’ve had several conversations this week that have broken my heart. Relationships entangled with pornography use that’s unexpectantly and slowly ripping real intimacy apart. Hearts in pieces after believing the lie that giving themselves to someone physically would satisfy the longing in their hearts. Students whose parents have finalized the ending of their covenant that was supposed to be forever. And parents questioning the Gospel because their child is struggling with sexual orientation and gender identity, and they don’t know how they’re supposed to respond.
These conversations have made me more aware than ever that we are living in the spirit of an “extended Saturday.” We have a living Savior, so we have a living hope. Jesus will come back. We will get to see our Savior’s face. Sunday is on its way! Our extended Saturday may seem at times long and pressing, but we wait – we wait for the promise of His coming, and we must not lose heart.
In the middle of all the heartbreak around me (including my own), God spoke these words very clearly to me: “I am going to make the devil pay for everything that he has done in your life.”
While the religions of the East speak of dissolving into the ocean of being, and while Islam and the Christian cults portray an otherworldly future, the Bible promises resurrection. This is different. It’s about these bodies and this world raised up. It’s this life laid hold of and turned around, like the plot twist in a classic comedy. Resurrection is about the author doing something joyous with our story—this one, the one we’re in—taking us through the valley of the shadow and out into a happily ever after, complete with a wedding. Without Jesus, life ends with a funeral. With Him, there is a never-ending wedding feast (Revelation 19).
I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and the mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in Him.Psalm 40:1-3, NIV
This Scripture reminds me that my job is to wait patiently and to walk through my “Saturday” before I see the promise fulfilled. God is faithful, and He will lift me, set my feet, and put a new song in my heart just like the psalmist says. More importantly though, the only way I can even type those words amid my own pain is because I know that what Jesus declared on the cross is true: IT IS FINISHED. The seemingly impossible work of redemption is always possible with God.
And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.1 Peter 5:10, NIV
Sunday is coming, friends. May we place our hope in that not only this week, but every week.
Happy Resurrection Day!