On the cross he hung, dripping in blood.
His death was a violent one. Brutal, bloody, unfair. His loved ones stood by and watched him go. He bowed his head in submission as he gave up his spirit and descended into hell.
Christians hear a lot about the Crucifixion. So much so, that I think it may fall on deaf ears. I'm not saying we should speak about the Crucifixion less--but I'm saying we need to tell the whole story.
Yes, He was crucified and He was buried on Friday. And (spoiler alert) He returned to life on Sunday.
But Saturday was silence. There was no clarity. There was only chaos, pain, and hurt. Death deceived the even the wisest into believing it had won.
The day after a loved one dies is a strange day. The initial shock of grief is over and the sorrow has set in. It opens the door of your heart, enters without knocking, kicks its shoes off in the foyer and walks right into your kitchen to make himself a cup of tea. It plans on staying awhile and making this heartache as miserable as possible.
If you can, remember the day following the death of a loved one. These are the days that you walk around like a zombie, not sure how to respond to any given situation. My heart hurts thinking about Mary and the disciples walking around Jerusalem like zombies, eyes glazed over, hearts beating shallowly.
This was their day of silence. They had hope, because the disciples knew he would rise on the third day. However, the jarring reality of watching the brutal death of a loved one would make anyone's head spin. Despite their hope, trust, and assurance in Jesus's eternal life, they still experienced the normal agony and misery associated with any other earthly death.
They had no vision of the next day. They hadn't felt the joy that would come in the morning.
We, as humans, are more than familiar with this sensation. I love this quote by C.S. Lewis: "We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be." We get stuck in seasons of silence-- Saturdays of sorrow-- all the time.
Being stuck in a season of silence is like being stuck in a constant state of stagnancy. You long to be out of the situation you're currently in and you're so confused as to why God is withholding. I'm in multiple seasons of silence right now on many fronts, as I'm sure most people are.
But the truth is: He's not a withholding God. He didn't withhold His son's resurrection on the third day. Jesus rose with the sun the next morning, as will you. And Jesus knew He was going to rise again.
Max Lucado, one of my favorite Christian authors, puts it this way and I honestly cannot phrase it better myself:
"Jesus knew God would not leave him alone in the grave. You need to know, God will not leave you alone with your struggles. His silence is not his absence, inactivity is never apathy. Saturdays have their purpose. They let us feel the full force of God’s strength. Had God raised Jesus fifteen minutes after the death of His son, would we have appreciated the act? Were He to solve your problems the second they appear, would you appreciate His strength?
For His reasons, God inserts a Saturday between our Fridays and Sundays. If today is one for you, be patient. As one who endured the silent Saturday wrote: “Be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord” (James 5:7 NKJV)."
Don't fear the Saturdays. The Saturdays, as dark and hopeless as they may seem, are full of glory, too. Trust the Saturdays. Trust the hope that lies in silence. And look forward to the bright Sundays, dripping in His wine-soaked forgiveness.