I’ve spent a lot of time this week as we approach Easter thinking about my current season of life. Most of my adult life, I’ve spent the week before Easter feverishly scrambling around, making last minute preparations for Easter. But this year (and last year, for that matter) have been quite different. It’s been a quiet week. A week where I’ve been able to spend some time reflecting on my current season—which I would label as a season of “waiting.”
What am I waiting on? Ha. What am I not waiting on, would probably be an easier question to answer.
I’m waiting on a lot.
- I’m waiting to see some fractured relationships restored.
- I’m waiting on more direction from God, regarding how he might use my life in the future to make a difference.
- I’m waiting on some answers. I’ve got some questions these days that I’ve been wrestling with, that have caused some deep restlessness in my soul.
Lewis Smedes described waiting like this: “Waiting is our destiny. As creatures who cannot by themselves bring about what they hope for, we wait in the darkness for a flame we cannot light. We wait in fear for a happy ending that we cannot write. We wait for a ‘not yet’ that feels like a ‘not ever.’”
Often, it may mean something goes horribly wrong:
A dream dies.
A relationship ends.
A job dissipates.
A desire is crushed.
You’re left there standing, waiting, and paralyzed by hopelessness. You start to wonder…
Did God forget his promises?
Does God know?
Does God care?
Every year around Easter, I take some time to read through the different accounts of the crucifixion and resurrection in the Bible. It’s amazing how new things always jump out at me, even after reading it countless times. Look at this!
Luke 23:44-49 It was about noon, and the whole land became dark until three o’clock in the afternoon, 45 because the sun did not shine. The curtain in the Temple was torn in two. 46 Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Father, I give you my life.” After Jesus said this, he died.
47 When the army officer there saw what happened, he praised God, saying, “Surely this was a good man!” 48 When all the people who had gathered there to watch saw what happened, they returned home, beating their chests because they were so sad. 49 But those who were close friends of Jesus, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance and watched.
Notice how Jesus’ closest followers react. The gospel account says, they “stood at a distance and watched.”’
Have you ever been so hopeless that you couldn’t do a thing? You couldn’t get mad, fight or even cry? Have you ever felt so hopeless that you didn’t have the energy or passion to even get ticked off?
I believe this was the emotional state of Jesus’ followers. Nothing seemed to be happening. They felt hopeless, as if they were completely alone.
Now, we know the end of this story. We know that God was in fact doing his best work yet, but there would be a waiting period. It was Friday, remember, when Jesus was crucified. But the paralyzing hopelessness the disciples experienced continued to intensify as they moved into Saturday.
I think it’s interesting that we don’t talk a lot about that Saturday in the church. We spend a lot of time talking about Good Friday, which of course we should. This is the day redemption happened through the shedding of Christ’s blood. It’s a very important day. And nobody would argue against the fact that Easter Sunday is a day of celebration. We celebrate that Jesus conquered death so that we can have life. It doesn’t get any better than Easter Sunday.
But we don’t hear a lot about that Saturday, do we?
Saturday, in our perspective, often seems like a day when nothing is happening. In reality, it was a day of a whole lot of questioning, doubting, wondering, and definitely waiting—a day of helplessness and hopelessness. It’s a day when we begin to wonder if God is asleep at the wheel or simply powerless to do anything our about our current problems.
While we don’t spend a lot of time talking about Saturday, I think so much of our life here on this earth is lived out feeling somewhat trapped in “Saturday.” I’m trying to get to a place in my life where I can embrace “Saturday.” I’m trying to get to a place where I can view it as a type of preparation for what I believe God might be doing in my life.
You may currently be in the midst of a horrible, out-of-control situation. You feel as if God is not there, that there’s nothing that can be done.
But here is the message of the gospel for you while you’re stuck in your helpless, hopeless Saturday life: God does his best work in hopeless situations.
We worship a God who specializes in resurrections. He specializes in hopeless situations. After all, at Easter, we celebrate the fact that he conquered death— the ultimate hopeless situation— so you could have life.
His followers were dejected, dismal and hopeless— and then Jesus rose from the dead. God did the impossible, and in a matter of hours, the disciples journeyed from hopeless to hope-filled; from powerless to powerful. They saw him risen, and everything changed.
The story of our salvation was born out of extraordinary uncertainty, but that’s the way hope works.
And no, that doesn’t take away your cancer.
That doesn’t erase the bankruptcy you’re in the midst of.
That doesn’t heal the hurt of your divorce.
That doesn’t replace your shattered dream.
That doesn’t restore your relational pain.
But it can remind you that while life is uncertain, God is not. While our power is limited, God’s is limitless. While our hope is fragile, God himself is hope.
Your world may feel chaotic, especially when you’re stuck in a Saturday struggling hopelessly and waiting desperately.
But no doubt about it, God is still in control. And one way or another, Sunday will dawn.