Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter Saturday: Doubting God

Nestled between the tragic "Good Friday" and triumphant "Easter Sunday" lies a day often overlooked in the Christian calendar: Easter Saturday.

It's a day sometimes observed by the more high church denominations with ceremony and tradition, a day of mourning. It's a day of grief.  But it is also a day of much deeper emotion, a day that represents doubt and despondency.  And it poses a poignant question: How would you respond if everything you could see, hear, touch, feel, and taste told you that what you've believed in was completely wrong.

On Friday, the disciples, family and followers all watched Christ die a gruesome death.  Perhaps even as they stood there, against all hope, believing God would intervene at the last possible moment and all would see that Jesus is Messiah!  But God didn't intervene. God let Him die.

For those who believed in Him so completely, it had to have been incomprehensible. They knew Him and loved Him. He could not be dead! He had not done what Messiah was supposed to do! He had not ushered in a new era.

And yet as they wrapped his body quickly in spices and laid it in the tomb, they faced the incomprehensible reality.  He really was dead. As they pushed the stone over the cave opening, they had to begin burying all the hopes and dreams they had wrapped up in Him as Messiah. It was over.

As the sun rose on Easter Saturday, they had to go through their Sabbath routine, but it had to have felt so empty.  The questions must have screamed through everyone's mind, even if no one dared utter the words aloud.

Had Jesus deceived them? The love they had for Him made the possibility all the more painful to consider.

Was He not the Christ? How could He be if now He were dead?!

But His love, His miracles!  And yet now, He lay dead in a tomb. Death did not lie.

All evidence, all reality, all of life experience culminating in the day of Easter Saturday left no doubt. They were wrong. They had clearly misplaced their faith.

We all have Easter Saturdays in our lives.  They do not always correspond with the calendar holiday, but they are there--days when we doubt, days when we wonder where God is and if He even really cares. And our harsh circumstances testify with all certainty that we've misplaced our faith by putting it in Someone we cannot see.

Easter Saturdays are critical, defining moments in our lives. They are moments when the rubber hits the road in our faith.  After all, what is faith but the "confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see." (Hebrews 11:1)  It's easy to have "faith" when God makes sense. But that's not really faith at all. But in those Easter Saturdays of our life, when all logic and circumstances scream "there is no God,"  that's when real faith begins.

Easter Saturdays are not the enemy of our faith. They stand as a necessary ingredient in establishing a true faith built on more than religious axioms and tradition.  Easter Saturday represents a critical part in the process that brings us from the point of inexplicable tragedy (Good Friday) to a place of complete redemption and hope (Easter Sunday), where faith actually does become sight.