Sandwiched between the two most significant days on the Christian Calendar is Holy Saturday. What happened on Holy Saturday was… well… not much. Here on earth it seemed like nothing was happening. Can you imagine being one of the disciples during the first Holy Saturday?
Three years of living with Him, traveling with Him and participating in miracles, they watched as the number of followers grew exponentially. Preaching the Kingdom and signs and wonders were an everyday occurrence. Then, suddenly, they watched Him be taken from them. Thursday night they dozed off a bit while Jesus was praying. Friday they had to deal with the painful reality of the brutal execution of their Lord and friend. Exhausted and confused, Holy Saturday had to have been the longest day ever.
Jesus’ Mother had to endure that first day without her son. Peter had to suffer through the reality that after trying to save Jesus’ life in the garden, He denied Him three times in the next several hours. The remaining disciples (not named John) bailed on Jesus. They ran scared. That couldn’t have felt good the next day. Even though Jesus told them He was going to be killed, they probably didn’t believe it. They are now faced with a sobering and lonely Saturday to contemplate what had just happened.
Their minds probably flooded with Jesus’ words and teachings. They ended up together in the same place and probably remembered and reflected on what Jesus. Maybe they remembered that time when Jesus healed the centurion’s servant without even laying a hand on Him. Maybe they remembered how mad Mary and Martha were when Jesus didn’t get there in time to save Lazarus. They had so much to remember – so much to celebrate. I wonder how long it was before someone remembered that Jesus had spoken about rising up on the third day. Even so, they misunderstood most everything else He said. Why would they be able to make sense of Jesus’ predictions and promises now?
Waiting is actually an incredibly important element of being faithful as a follower of Christ. In the waiting it’s easy to give up. It’s easy to move on. It’s easy to forget what God has said and/or promised. I think that’s why when Paul talked about perseverance, he talked about the reward being for those who don’t give up.
‘Lonely Saturdays’ are a reality of our Christian life. What we have to remember is that God is at work in the waiting – even when we can’t see it. The disciples only had to wait a day this time, but later they would have to wait longer. When Jesus ascended into heaven, they had to wait again for the Holy Spirit.
Waiting on God never seems to get easier. It also doesn’t make it easier, that by my count, He always seems to be running late. Yes His timing is perfect, and His ways are higher than mine. Yes, I can and do remind myself of that. Yes, I remember His promises, but waiting is always hard.
I wish there was a better solution, but the truth is that with God there is a lot of waiting. Sometimes waiting is lonely and heartbreaking. Sometimes it involves suffering or persecution. Sometimes it is filled with uncertainty and doubt. The truth we have to remember is that waiting is not wasted. Waiting doesn’t mean God’s not at work. Until He returns or calls us home, we will find ourselves waiting out a lot of in betweens.
Let’s give thanks in our waiting and wait as those who live with the power of the resurrection. Let’s give thanks for a God who fights for us when we only need to be still. Let’s remember that He’s at work right now. Lonely Saturdays won’t stay lonely forever. When we find ourselves waiting, we can persevere by remembering that Sunday comes after Friday. And, no matter how hard Friday was or how lonely Saturday is…Sunday’s coming!