"It's over." "He's gone."
We miss it almost every year. We forget that the people we read about in the accounts of the events that make up Easter weekend even had a Saturday filled with nothing more than grief, loss, and crushing doubt. The day before they saw their worst nightmares come true before their eyes. Everything they had given three years of their lives to - the central pivot point to every step they made - was dead and buried.
They shared one of the questions that dog us even today - What now?
Some are paralyzed with grief and become almost catatonic, unable to do anything at all. Loss does that.
You lose a family member that has always "been there for you." Now you and the rest of the family have to figure out how to relate to each other - how to live as a family.
You lose a job that provided for your family, and gave you satisfaction and a sense of identity - is lost. Now you are dealing with a pack of howling doubts about how you are going to make it, and even whispers asking who are you and are you capable of getting another job. The tightness in your throat, the rumbling in your stomach just won't go away. And your family is looking at your for guidance and for security.
Others make peace with the loss and move on, doing what they believe they should do. Little noted in the accounts of the days of Easter are the women who went shopping on Saturday for the spices they'd use to make sure Jesus' body was prepared to the max. If they couldn't change the past, they'd be found faithful with what they could do.
That's living on Saturday, isn't it. The Saturday between Good Friday and Easter.
Living in the fellowship of suffering.
So let's embrace it for what it can teach us about God and His relationship with those who love Him.
First, let's eliminate the biggest fear. God is not dead, He is not asleep, He isn't pretending not to notice our pains and sorrows. We might think so based on what we've seen happen, but if Easter teaches us anything, it should be that God is always at work - even when we can't see Him.
So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”
Deut 31:6 (NLT) BTW, that's repeated in Hebrews 13 as well.
So God is at work, then what is this experience designed to do? Well, what were we told about faith?
Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. Heb 11:1 (NLT)
Listen - I've been there and done this too many times. When the storms come, you have to move toward a deeper understanding and practice of your faith. You have to put your fears and doubts behind you and use them as a push to go farther. It's NOT EASY. You might say "I can't do it." And really, many of us can't.
But GOD can. - your absence of what it took created the perfect opportunity for the Holy Spirit to work in and through you. God showed up BIG TIME that first Easter weekend, and His power is available to you today.
Think about it. Pray about it.
Then go out and live an Easter life no matter what day it is.
Because the believer in Jesus knows life's greatest secret.
It may be Saturday - but Sunday's coming.