Saturday, April 19, 2014

The day in-between

**I wrote this post exactly 2 years ago on Easter weekend, and was reminded of this message again today-- as so many of life's struggles seem amplified.  Re-sharing it to remind myself of the Hope of Easter...and praying it brings encouragement to others too.

Today, on this Saturday I find myself reflecting on the significance of today-- the day between good Friday and Easter. 

It's a rather depressing day when you stop and think about it.  The disciples had seen Jesus die and suffer on Friday and then awoke on Saturday with the realization that the very one they had put their hope and faith in was gone.  Jesus was no longer suffering on the cross-- he was in the grave.  It seemed over.  I've been thinking about that a lot today.  Trying to imagine what Jesus' followers would have been thinking, experiencing, and trying to understand. I can't imagine anyone was up for any theological banter or dialogue, yet instead I picture it as a very solemn and quiet day, most people likely without words.  Were they calling to mind the things Jesus had eluded to about raising from the dead?  Were some of them clinging to a hope that the story wasn't finished?  I can't imagine the depth of the thoughts and questions swirling in their heads...or the sense of abandonment they must have experienced.

Scripture tells us very little about this day in between. I read through all 4 gospel accounts today to seek out any information that would shed light on that silent day- the day between Good Friday and the day of Resurrection, and what struck me was the absence of information.  We know it was the Sabbath and therefore the day of rest and they did rest 'in obedience to the commandment' (Luke 23:56) , but there is nothing to tell us what the disciples were thinking- no writings to tell us that they all gathered to pray or discuss their thoughts, no words expressing even doubt.

I can't help but thinking what that day would have been like had I been there. How very alone and confused I would have felt, wanting to believe that the story wasn't over, but struggling with the reality that my eyes would have seen.

I don't know if you are living in a day 'in between' experience right now. Maybe you've seen the goodness of God and been living a life pursuing Jesus, but the problems and challenges in life right now have placed you in a valley, and you can't seem to see beyond the reality of today. You want to have faith to believe, but all your eyes see are obstacles. I've felt like that lately.  Longing to hold tightly to God's promises of redemption, but face to face with the reality of despair that I see around me.

I am glad I have today to realize this. To live for just one day in the tension between Good Friday and Easter. To realize there are dark days, days that feel hopeless. How grateful I am though, that I don't have to remain there-- and that I know the rest of the story.  I get to read ahead.

My life would certainly be a mess if it wasn't for the rest of the story.  The part of the story when the tomb is found empty and when Jesus conquers death!  The part when the enemy is defeated, because the grave could not hold the creator of the universe! The part when Jesus comes and speaks his peace and promises to send his Holy Spirit to lead and guide us. That is a story worth telling. That is a story that brings hope and freedom.

Sometimes I think it takes living through the Saturday experiences to understand the rest of the story.  Because it is in my moments of hopelessness that I most fully recognize my need of a savior.

" Let us fix our eyes on Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." Hebrews 12:2-3