It’s Saturday. For those of us who have Monday through Friday jobs, Saturday represents time off, freedom, the chance to do things with family and friends, catch up on the laundry, mow the lawn, wash the car… It is a day relax from the demands of jobs and careers and focus on nurturing ourselves.
But there was that other Saturday, two thousand years ago, the day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, the in-between day that is hardly even mentioned in Scripture. Nobody was looking forward to that Saturday.
People had followed Jesus for some or all of the past three years. They had seen the miracles—healing, deliverance, people raised from the dead—they had listened to the teachings, and they come to believe that He was the Anointed One, the Son of the Living God who would rescue Israel and establish God’s Kingdom.
And then there was Good Friday, and then there was Saturday. What the hell just happened? Did they really kill Jesus? What about the miracles, the healings? What about Lazarus walking out of the tomb? What about the Kingdom?
My Saturday also came just before Easter. All mom said was, “Daddy died last night.” She couldn’t bring herself to tell us that he had purchased a gun at a pawn shop and tried to shoot her before putting the gun to his own head.
Had I been a few years older, I probably would have asked, What the hell just happened? But I was ten.
Memory is funny. I remember my aunt taking us to Leask’s in downtown Santa Cruz to buy something we could wear at the funeral and on Easter Sunday. I remember standing in a dingy section in the back of the store while my aunt and my mother rifled through the racks of little girl clothes. I remember the pale gray suit with the round white collar. My mother told me once that I cried so hard at the funeral the front of the jacket was soaking wet. I don’t remember that.
I lived in that Saturday for decades. I wanted daddy back; I wanted to be with daddy again; I wanted to wake up from the nightmare and get back to the way things were.
I think I know how the disciples felt on that Saturday. God, where were you? How could you let this happen? Where was my miracle? Now what?
You may be living in your own Saturday. For whatever reason, life did not go the way you planned. Things fell apart. The relationship disintegrated, the divorce is final. You were “downsized,” laid off, fired. The phone call came in the middle of the night. The diagnosis confirmed your worst fears. The pain you have been living with for so long has you so worn down that you wonder what’s left of you. You can’t imagine going on like this much longer.
It does not matter what your situation is, or how bad it is, or whether it is “worse than” or “not as bad as” anyone else’s. Saturday is Saturday, and it can seem like there is nothing we can do about it.
But Jesus’ story did not end on Saturday. Sunday came. Jesus walked out of His own tomb. He hung out with the disciples, ate dinner, worked a few more miracles, and then left again.
Do you believe that? Did that really happen? Is that even possible? Isn’t that just a story someone made up years later?
Easter Sunday forces us to make an outrageous, ridiculous, unbelievable, life-changing choice. We can choose to believe that there is a God Who raises the dead—dead hopes, dead relationships, dead futures, dead feelings—regardless of how illogical and impossible that seems. We can choose to believe that He has answers and resources and plans beyond anything we can ask or imagine, and that He is dying to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. We can choose to believe that Sunday is coming, or we can choose to continue living on Saturday.
I can’t make that choice for you. I can’t tell you what difference it will make in your life. I don’t know what God will do for you. Did he bring my daddy back? Of course not. Will He give you the answer you’ve been insisting on? Maybe. Will He surprise you? Probably. Does He want what’s best for you, in spite of all the things that go wrong in this broken, crazy, wicked world? Absolutely. Are you willing to trust Him?
Here is what I know. After trying so hard to scrape together the shattered remnants of my broken heart by myself, I gave my pathetically few pieces to the One who promises to bind up the brokenhearted and invited Him to do what He does best. At some point in that process, I began to realize something about that area of my life.
It’s not Saturday anymore.