Luke’s account of Good Friday reveals: “It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun’s light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!’ And having said this he breathed his last.” Luke 23:44-46
So often in this season, I have rushed too fast, past Saturday, to the Good News of Easter Sunday. This year I have been pondering what it must have been like for Jesus’ dear friends to linger between Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
Words that likely capture some of what they were experiencing that particular Saturday are: Fear. Confusion. Anger. Sadness. Loneliness. Disorientation. Lostness. Hopelessness. These are the words of “Saturday.”
These emotions perhaps stemmed from the reality that these disciples were real people with real questions and had very few answers. Perhaps many of them were silently asking themselves: Is following Jesus worth it? Why is God not doing something? What’s next? These are the questions of “Saturday.”
As humans, we all certainly experience similar disorienting emotions. We all most assuredly have many unanswered questions. We all have our “Saturdays.” We all face disorienting seasons. The question becomes, How do we then live?
I scoured the Gospels this Lent to see if there might be anything to grab ahold of this year. I did not find much written about this particular Saturday, but the one verse I found surprised me. Here is it is:
On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment.
WHAT? They rested?
Here it is in context: “Now there was a man named Joseph, from the Jewish town of Arimathea. He was a member of the council, a good and righteous man, who had not consented to their decision and action; and he was looking for the kingdom of God. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then he took it down and wrapped it in a linen shroud and laid him in a tomb cut in stone, where no one had ever yet been laid. It was the day of Preparation, and the Sabbath was beginning. The women who had come with him from Galilee followed and saw the tomb and how his body was laid. Then they returned and prepared spices and ointments. On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment.” (Luke 23:50-56)
In one simple verse, I find incredible hope. I find a way forward. I find something to do. I find an invitation to a beautiful mystery. Here’s my best current attempt to make sense of what the disciples did. They simply did the next right thing: “On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment.” They leaned into their faith practices. They exhibited raw trust and entered Sabbath Rest with all their emotions and all their questions. Their actions motivate me. As I read that verse, I am sensing three invitations for us this Holy Saturday.
Invitation 1: Enter the Sabbath Rest of God’s Wisdom…Embracing the Beauty of God’s Mystery
Romans 11:33 paints a wonderful picture of Paul praising God for His wisdom, “Oh the depth of riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways.” God’s wisdom is far, far beyond us. It’s complete. Ours is incomplete. I confess, when I am disoriented I typically complain to God about why He doesn’t tell me what He is doing. The reality that He knows something that He is not telling me is met with frustration.
Yet, I see Paul praising God for the mystery of His unsearchable wisdom. He is lost in the wonder of celebrating the God who knows the answers to our questions but is not yet telling us what some of those answers are. While I can accept not knowing everything about how God runs the universe, including the billions of galaxies that orbit invisibly above my head, the ways He is or is not working in my personal life is often maddening for me. My friend and mentor, Ted Wueste, helps me see, “Since God is infinite and we are finite, MYSTERY is a reality of our human condition. And that reality is beautiful because it leads us to trust and dependence – which is our created design.”
So, what if we sat in silence a minute and considered a paradigm shift and began to see God’s mystery as beautiful? His mystery is beautiful because He is a good, good Father. May we awaken to seeing God is love and He is inviting us to be at home in His love, even in the midst of the maddening and disorienting “Saturdays” of our lives. This paradigm shift may allow you to rest in His love and wisdom and let go of the need to know everything this very instant. Perhaps, God has prepared a beautiful future for you just like Ephesians 2:10 promises. Perhaps, God knows what He is doing. Perhaps, He wants to free you from having to create your own future. Perhaps, resting and trusting in His power, wisdom, and goodness is the very best way to live.
Are you needing a paradigm shift?
Invitation 2: Resist Believing False Narratives About the Goodness of God
A famous passage on waiting on this God of beautiful mystery is Isaiah 40. I commend that to you for a slow read. Therein, you will find God is pointing out in Isaiah 40:27 that while we “wait,” we need to avoid doubting God’s goodness towards us. He invites us to resist believing the lies, “God does not know!” or “God does not care!” While we wait, it will do our souls good to become aware of the lies we believe about God.
Invitation 3: Wait on God to BREATHE
Again, “On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment.” We all know what follows Saturday. Jesus breathes in a fresh gulp of air and He is now alive from the dead. All of sudden, Bam! God acts. His timing is always perfect. His goodness will always break in at just the right time.
This Holy Saturday, I feel an invitation to wait on God, in His perfect timing, to:
- Breathe new life into dead relationships.
- Breathe fresh trust in the midst of unanswered questions.
- Breathe deeper faith that God is love and thus He is actively seeking my highest good.
- Breathe radical healing for long-standing wounds.
- Breathe palpable peace that surpasses my understanding.
What is our beautiful God inviting you into this Easter season? He’s eager to have that very conversation with you. Enjoy the journey.