Saturday Between
2017-04-15
The greatest note of triumph ever sounded in the ears of a startled universe was that sounded on the cross of Christ - 'It is finished'." (Oswald Chambers)

Yesterday was Good Friday - the day those three words rang out in agony.  And tomorrow is Easter - the day Christ rose from the grave and proved that those three words meant victory and not defeat.  But today is Saturday - the day the disciples hid in fear, wracked with grief and hopelessness.

This year, for whatever reason, I am identifying most with Saturday.
Today is the in-between.  The not-yet.  The waiting. 

And I've been thinking a lot about this little word in the waiting:  hope.  It's kind of a big deal for being so small.  It has all kinds of emotion wrapped up in it, doesn't it?  We hope for political change.  We hope for world peace.  We hope that our children will be safe and happy and that our health will hold out long enough to see our grandchildren grow.  

Are you seeing a connection here?  That this feeling of hope is actually initiated by a sense of uncertainty.  Hope forms in the lacking, and sometimes even in the fear.  And here's the kicker - hope often disappoints us.  When that political change never seems to come, when the world feels like it's coming apart at the seams, when our health fails and when loved ones don't live to see the simple joys of life, like watching grandchildren grow.

Gosh, hope doesn't sound very reliable, does it?  But we still long for it.  Even if it lets us down, even if it breaks our hearts, we still want that feeling of hope to assure us that there's something else outside of where we are.  Something bigger than the world we know.  Something better.

It's a glimmer in the darkness. 

When we read about the disciples on Saturday though, it doesn't seem that there was even a glimmer there.  Just darkness.  And these were the men who had walked with God, who had seen a little girl raised from the dead and Lazarus come forth from a tomb.  They'd seen thousands fed with one boy's lunch, and watched their Teacher walk on water and calm a storm with two words: 'Be still'.  

But now here they were on Saturday, in the wake of a dark Friday, still existing in the echo of 'It is finished,' ... hopeless.

They couldn't possibly have understood the profound, universe-altering meaning of those three words.  But don't be frustrated with them - How could they?  We have the hindsight to look back and know that Sunday was coming.  But for them, still stuck in Saturday, if hope was just a feeling then hope was surely lost.

Hope, as the dictionary defines it, is also a 'person or thing that can help to save'.  You know - "Help me Obi Wan Kenobi; you're my only hope."  So hope is two-fold.  It isn't just a feeling; it can also be the object, the person who comes to our rescue, who saves.  

It seems our infatuation with hope is the reason we love super heroes so much, and why we love that prince who fights the dragon in order to rescue his princess.  It's the reason our hearts swell when we hear about real life heroes who lay down their lives for a friend or for their country, heroes who take someone in off of the street or maybe even give up all they have to go and run an orphaned children's home on the other side of the world.  

This tells me 3 things, that hope (the person) not only has an element of need permeating its meaning, but that it also has a cost involved.  For the hope giver it isn't free.  It also shows me that the desire for hope, for the hero, is woven into the very fiber of our beings.  Though some of us might seem to lose it as life goes on, it was there once, at the start.  

Your heart wasn't just made for the feeling of hope, but for an object of hope.  And if you are like me today, one of Saturday's children, then the best news you can hear is that Hope, the Person, is not dependent on hope the feeling.

The despondency of the disciples had no bearing on the fulfillment of the work of Christ.  Their abandonment of him at the cross did not thwart his mission.  Their unbelief did not squelch his purpose or his pursuit of them.  Their fear and grief could not separate them from His love.  And it did not prevent the resurrection from coming.
O friends, this encourages my weary Saturday soul to its core.  

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for us.  For one will scarcely die for a righteous person...but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5)

Hope was born into the darkness and despondency of Friday's and Saturday's world.  So you don't have to discover a new and brighter place in order to find Him.  You don't have to mend up your brokenness or climb to the 'light' to see.  If you are in a dark and broken place then Hope, the Person, is for you.  He was there on Friday, fighting your battle for you.  The one you'd lost hope of winning.  And though the cost of this hope was great - death on a cross - it was given freely because it was given in love.  

Do you know what that means to Saturday's children?  To you?  You are loved, dear one.  Right where you are.  Wherever you've been.  Whatever happened 'on Friday'.  Whatever you've done and whatever has been done to you.  Whatever the hole is that you carry around inside, you can exchange it for the fullness of Hope instead.  Not the feeling that comes and goes, but the knowable person of Christ.  He is the only hope that does not disappoint.  And it requires nothing of you but to receive what has been done on your behalf.  Receive 'It is finished.'

You know, once Sunday came those disciples who had previously been hiding in grief and fear knew with full assurance what those three words truly meant.  At the empty tomb, and when Jesus entered that upper room, their reliance on a hopeful feeling dissipated into nothingness.  And in its place was the Person who conquered sin and death for them.  My prayer for you on Saturday is that the echo of 'It is finished' would keep on ringing, into the deepest reaches of your soul.  Jesus is the glimmer in the darkness that cannot be extinguished. (John 1).  And Sunday is coming.
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