Hang on to Hope

It’s Holy Week, the time of year that we recall all that Jesus went through to bring us reconciliation and justification. It starts on Palm Sunday— the celebration of when the Jews welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem as their king (this sentiment didn’t last long). Then it’s Maundy Thursday which commemorates Christ’s last supper with his disciples, as well as his heading to the Garden of Gethsemane to commune with the Father before he would have to endure the cross. On Friday, we solemnly remember the pain, torture, and humiliation that our savior bore that culminated with his death on the cross. The week ends with the greatest triumph of all time, Jesus defeating death and emerging from the tomb, alive and well, with victory over sin and our salvation in his hands. 

 To me, this is the most joyous time of the year. Easter is my favorite holiday. It is the festival of hope and forgiveness. There is a buzz in the air unlike at any other time of year. Yes, Christmas gets most of the glory, but it pales in comparison to Easter. I think that’s because of all the hustle and bustle that comes with all there is to do on and around Christmas. That doesn’t seem to exist on Easter. The lack of obligation elsewhere really allows us to stop and be moved in gratitude for the love that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit have for us. 

My favorite day of Holy Week may seem like an odd one to choose. It’s the Saturday between Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday. It doesn’t even have an adjective attached to it. 

When reading the Gospels, there is seemingly nothing that is happening on that day. Jesus has died and been placed in the tomb. The disciples have all gone into hiding because they fear the religious leaders may come looking for them, perhaps to do the same thing to them that they did to Jesus. All was seemingly quiet and still. 

Take a second and imagine what the Disciples must have been feeling that day. They just watched the man in whom they had put all their hope breathe his last breath. They had fully believed that he was the Messiah, but messiahs are not supposed to die so easily. On top of all of that, Jesus was their friend. They must have been experiencing a myriad of emotions: hopelessness, heartbrokenness, devastation, fear, and pretty much every other negative one. Their world and faith were shattered.

Another thing to consider is what they thought the Messiah was going to be. Based on their understanding of scripture, the Jews believed that the Messiah was going to be a strong and mighty military leader who would overthrow Israel’s oppressor (at this point, Rome) and physically establish God’s kingdom on Earth forever. The Disciples believed that they were Jesus’ chosen soldiers for the rebellion. Instead, they were told to put their swords away and had to watch as the man who was supposed to be the Great General willingly gave up his life. None of this made sense to them.

Jesus repeatedly told his followers that he had to die but would resurrect a few days later. We get the advantage of reading those passages with the knowledge of how the story ended. There is no way the Disciples could have understood that. Would you believe someone if they told you they were going to die and come back to life? We would think that person was crazy (and rightfully so). That’s why the 12 believed that when Jesus died, he was going to stay dead. Historically, the odds were in favor of that belief. 

This brings me to why I love the Saturday of Holy Week so much. It was the darkest day for Jesus’ followers. Hope was lost, and hearts were crushed. They had no idea what was to come next. They mistook the quiet for the climax. Little did they know that God was mightily at work on that day. He was preparing to do the greatest work that has ever been done. They were but hours away from seeing just how magnificent God’s plan was. 

I think that we can all easily get caught up in the same mistake that the Disciples made, thinking that God’s silence means that he is not at work. We so very much want instant results for our prayers. We want God to step into our situation and fix it immediately. Sometimes he does that, but he often asks us to wait instead. Sometimes the waiting is hours, sometimes days, sometimes years. He uses that time to prepare what he’s doing for us and, more importantly, prepare us for his great work. 

In Isaiah 43:19, God says, “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” The issue is that, no, we do not often perceive it. We get so stuck in our own junk that we cannot see what God is doing. Just like the Disciples locked themselves away in the upper room out of fear, we go into hiding too. We fall into the trap of thinking that not seeing what God is doing means he’s not doing anything. That is never true.

God is always working for the good of his people (Romans 8:28), and he always will. There are times in our lives when we don’t feel, see, or hear what our Heavenly Father is up to, but that doesn’t mean he’s not hard at work. He is busy making everything just right and then provides the solution at just the right time. 

You may be experiencing some sort of death in your life right now like the Disciples did on Good Friday. Maybe you’re currently in a Silent Saturday, unsure what God is doing. I can assure you of this, Sunday is coming! God will show up and do a new thing, something more than you could ever ask for or imagine. 

I know this to be true for two reasons. One is because he’s done it in my life repeatedly. If he did it for me, surely he will do it for you. Secondly, and more importantly, is because Jesus’ tomb is still empty. I have seen it for myself. Death and sin are still defeated, and Jesus is still triumphant over all the evil in this world. Just like our messiah, our hope lives. Hope that God will do a new thing. Hope that he will work all things for our good. Hope that he has great plans for us. We can have hope eternal because Jesus didn’t stay dead. 

So, no matter what it is that you’re going through, hang on to the hope that Sunday is coming. Just because it’s quiet now does not mean that God will not do mighty work. I can assure you that he will. Hang on to the hope of Easter; it’s the greatest hope that we have.

Published by smith1626

I am the Director of Youth Ministries at St. John United Methodist Church in Scott Depot, WV. Mostly, I am a sinner saved by amazing grace.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: