Easter is known for a lot of things: dying eggs, pretty pastel hues on little girls dresses, sweet bunny faces (or the terrifying character ones at the mall), blooming flowers and enough chocolate to rot your teeth; but for a lot of us, there is a lot more to it.
We're approaching Easter this Sunday, but this year I'm seeing the story with a completely fresh perspective. For my entire life, I knew that Jesus died on a Friday, but we celebrate that Sunday because he rose from the dead. I'm not sure why, but over all of these years I never once stopped to ask anyone about that Saturday.
I knew about Friday. I knew it was dark. I knew that it brought terror, tears, hopelessness and grief. I knew that people dedicated their lives to following Jesus, and suddenly he was dead and buried. I knew that nothing about experiencing that Friday was good.
I certainly knew about Sunday. I knew that the tomb was empty because Jesus overcame death. I knew that the pain and confusion that Friday brought suddenly made sense- that deliverance was complete.
But have you ever really thought about why God placed Saturday in between these two days? God is a God of significance- so he didn’t just throw it in there for fun. He could have raised Jesus from the dead in seconds if he wanted to.
A couple of months ago, I needed to be reminded of the hope God offers us, so I found myself listening to some old podcasts. An Easter one by Pete Wilson particularly struck me as he made this point: I believe the significance of that Saturday was to teach us about waiting.
We all go through terrible things at some point in our life; things that are heart wrenching, that seem senseless and terrible. These things can leave us feeling a lot like that Friday before you know about what's coming Sunday. So then, there’s Saturday. We wait. Yes, Friday left us hurt, fearful, maybe even hopeless; but we must trust in the fact that God is a God of Sundays- one that makes our pain have a purpose. Saturday reminds us that hurt to healing isn’t immediate. It requires time and patience and most importantly, trust. It’s God’s way of telling us that just because life looks messy and doesn’t make sense right now, that doesn’t mean it won’t eventually. It’s His way of reminding us that the most beautiful transformation we will experience as humans doesn’t happen on Sunday when we get what we want, but on Saturday while we wait expectantly on God- trusting he will deliver.
I'm in a personal season of Saturday myself; a time of waiting and uncertainty. But I don't doubt for a single second that God has me exactly where I'm supposed to be. In fact, when I realized the beauty behind this Saturday a few months ago, I looked at the calendar in anticipation and noticed it was April 4th- which is my birthday. God may place us in a period of waiting, but he's always right there with us and he'll always make his presence known.
Whether you're there now or whether it's on it's way, we'll all experience that season that feels bleak and doesn't make sense. The one we want to fast-forward through before we've earned the result. But I hope that when you're there, you'll learn what it means to wait. I hope you'll believe that God is using humble today, mess and all, to teach you- to make you better. I hope that this coming Saturday, you'll find joy in the present moment without racing to Sunday. Most of all, I hope you can join me in believing without a shadow of a doubt that Sunday is most definitely coming- no matter how far away it seems, and that it's going to be absolutely beautiful.