In the darkness of Good Friday, it’s hard to keep walking and let God work out what is standing in our way. It’s easy to ask why God has abandoned us -in the wake of broken dreams nailed to a tree, in the face of tragedy that struck out of nowhere in the breathtaking triumph of evil that leaves us speechless- as a hammer prepares to strike a nail that will pierce the Savior.
The story of the birth of Christ that we just celebrated a few months back comes to a crushing, agonizing stop.
Keep Walking and Let God Despite The Ending
We know the end of the story- but His disciples didn’t have the luxury of reading it like we do, they had to live it and when you are in the moment, you can know all the right answers and battered by the storm you didn’t expect. We can’t see around the bend, we can’t see the light of Sunday while we are walking through the darkness of Friday and Saturday. All they could see is their savior, the one they had waited for, their hope, their dream that had come to pass nailed to a cross. This was the end as far as they could see.
We’ve all been here, wandering in the darkness, of our own personal Friday’ when the pain is just too much, the disappointment too overwhelming and we find ourselves saying it can’t end like this... Why God?… Tell me why have you forsaken me? Why did you let it end here? It’s easy in these moments to forget that Sunday has already been promised. No matter how dark it gets, no matter how much evil gloats at the win, Sunday is on its way.
Keep walking even when it looks like it is over
Where there is even a shred of light the darkness is shattered. It may look like it is over, it may look like your hope is dead. The people closest to you, the people that we’re supposed to love you have hurt you the most. The betrayal of a parent, the reveal of the true character in someone you thought you knew. The broken place that you just can’t fix, you’ve been trying so hard to follow Him, the best you knew how. But now you find yourself in an unfamiliar place and what you thought was going to happen didn’t happen. The mission you abandoned the boat for has ended on the cross while “It is finished” echoes in your ears.
We like to skip to the Joy of Easter and the resurrection. Skip to the triumph and avoid the darkness. The time before the pain and the disappointments of the dead places. The places where we find ourselves not as lost children restored at the foot of the cross, but followers disappointed because our dream ended here. Everything we thought we knew, withers in this dead place and there’s nothing we can do.
The pain of Good Friday
As we read through the crucifixion of Jesus in Mark 15 and slip into chapter 16 we find the women who followed Jesus on their way to anoint His body- they don’t know He’s risen, as far as they know their hope, their dream died on that cross. But here they are, returning to the place in which it was laid to rest. When we are disappointed, it’s easy to throw in the towel and walk away, to hide like the disciples.
The truth is we’re angry, and hurt that God would let it end like this. Like the little boy in the Princess Bride, we want to interrupt shouting “Hold it! You read that wrong!” it can’t end like this. So I find the faith of these women remarkable. They witnessed the same thing as the disciples and yet here they are returning to the grave, they don’t wait for the others, they don’t wait to be directed, they just go, even though they know that there is a stone that they can’t move on their own. It is hopeless, many would say pointless, but they go anyway. How many of us need to follow in these ladies footsteps and go anyway?
We don’t understand it, we don’t see the way, but we’re going anyway… I think sometimes that’s all God wants- for us to show up anyway. Even when it’s hard. When all we see is the darkness. Even when it looks like it ended in death and disappointment. Even when we can’t move the stone in the way, show up.
God is already working it out
The same cross that represents death in chapter 15, now bridges the gap into chapter 16 where the stone is rolled away. God is already working out what you are worried about. We may not be able to see Him, and the world around us may feel so dark, it may look like it has ended on the cross- but the Lord is at work in the darkness and the cross has no power because the stone is about to roll away. Even if it ends on the cross, it can’t stay there.
Friday- with all of the disappointments, and pain and failure is the hinge on which the doors of God’s grace will swing wide open. It can’t end in the dead place, the end of the book is already written. Evil may win the battle, but it’s already lost the war. The victory has already been claimed and He can take every mistake, every broken piece and turn it into a miracle.
Keep walking despite the stone
Often we see the stone in front of us, and we know we can’t move it so we walk away- He won’t leave it on the cross, or in the grave, but often we do. In our panic to avoid the pain and disappointments, in the fear that we may end up in uncomfortable places, that He may lead us to a place we don’t want to go, that it might end up on the cross we hide and allow the story to die here instead of returning like these women.
The devil can try to destroy what God is doing. He can attack it, he can bury it, he can even try to kill it. Satan will bring people into your life to try to tear down what you’ve been building. People to speak death over the dream the Lord gave you. He can try to send people to discourage you. You will see where he’ll try to make you believe that this is where it all ends. Think that there is no way out of this dead place- but He can’t stop what the Lord is doing. Keep walking and let God move the stone.
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