The worst was seemingly over. The Savior had been crucified, the veil was torn in two, salvation was paid in full, and people marveled and saw that He indeed was the Son of God.
And then the world got quiet. Dedicated friends asked to be able to bury their Lord. The women who never left His side went home to prepare spices and ointments. I would imagine that Peter sat alone, trying desperately not to let guilt and regret consume him, longing to go back and do things differently. The Romans, remembering Christ’s promise of resurrection, asked for guards to surround the tomb.
But all anyone could really do was wait. Wait for prophesy to be fulfilled, wait for Christ to rise again, wait to finally understand what this Man had been telling them and teaching them, wait for a second chance to follow Him without reservation.
I feel like much of the past few years has felt like one long Holy Saturday. The biggest pain has passed but life seems like one big waiting game. Standing on promises, staying hopeful and expectant, waiting for prophesies to be fulfilled. Doing what I can to follow the Lord in obedience and serve without distraction, but always remembering in the back of my mind His words and promises and hoping for a day when I will see those things come to pass.
There are times when the waiting gets hard. When I can’t quite hear God speaking, when it feels like He has forgotten and left, when the remnants from my days trapped in legalism make me feel like I’m being punished for past mistakes. There are days when I need reassurance and need Him to remind me that He cares and He’s working, that I’m not alone and that His purposes will prevail.
I know that I’m not alone in this. So many of us live our lives in the tension between Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday. We have first hand experience of how life can hurt like a bloody Friday and now we have been asked to lean in to the waiting and the longing, the hope and the expectancy for resurrection. We do our best to cling to His promises while trying to refuse to give in to the lies that the silence feeds us. But over and over we find ourselves asking the question God where are you?
So I think about that Holy Saturday after the death of Christ. I think of God’s plan for humanity and the resurrection that was coming. I think about the people who loved Him, the ones who never left His side. I think of their mourning and their grief and how all they had to hold on to was a promise. The words of Jesus resounding in their hearts while hope maybe seemed far away. Maybe their faith never faltered, or maybe they wondered where God was.
Everything was silent that day. Oh but God was so near.
May Holy Saturday remind us today and everyday that the silence of God does not equal the absence of God.
The silence of God does not equal the absence of God. We have this hope as an anchor for our souls.
At some point in our lives, we all find ourselves in the process of waiting. But we can wait with gratitude. We can wait with awe and wonder at a God who loves us and is for us and will never leave our sides. We can wait with assurance because we serve a good good Father.
He hasn’t forgotten us or turned away. He is not angry, disappointed, or ashamed. He loves us, and He is always working in ways that we cannot fathom.
No one’s ever seen or heard anything like this,
Never so much as imagined anything quite like it—
What God has arranged for those who love Him.
1 Corinthians 2:9 (MSG)
Find Him in the waiting today. Find Him exactly in the place where you are. In the confusion, doubts, uncertainty, silence. He is there, in every place and in every moment. And fully trust that no matter what your waiting looks like, the silence of God does not equal the absence of God. He is near, and He cares.
Lean in, hope for, long for, and expectantly wait for the promises of our King.
Today we may be in waiting, but the hope for resurrection is ours. We serve a God who makes all things new – not different, not better, but new. He breathes and new life springs up! He speaks and calls us forth and we emerge from the tomb – whole, healed, and free. Grace and resurrection power is coursing through the dead, broken, dirty places in our lives at every moment, watering and reviving our souls.
Today we wait, but a new day is coming. Because we are the Easter people, and resurrection is our promise.
Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song. – Pope John Paul II
This presidential election has felt like one long Saturday Night Live skit. I have sat back completely astonished by Donald Trump’s popularity and have been sickened by the fear-mongering tactics of grown adults claiming to be educated and qualified to run this country. Like a bad car wreck that you can’t look away from, I have watched the debates in horror, seriously nervous about any of the candidates becoming our next president.
To be honest, I considered not voting today. I know, I know. It’s either a privilege to be taken advantage of or an obligation as a US citizen, depending on who you ask, and if you don’t vote you forfeit your right to complain later. I’ve heard and read it all. But I’ve gotten to a place where it’s hard to want to pick someone to attach my name to, and at this point, voting just feels like picking the lesser of the evils.
But regardless of how I feel, here we are. It’s Super Tuesday, and I have to make a choice. Either I can become a part of the approximately 40% of Americans who don’t vote, or I can choose to pray and make the wisest decision possible.
While doing last minute research on the candidates this past week, I came across a few articles about women who were a part of the suffrage movement, women that I had forgotten about over the years. And I was reminded of why I have the right to vote.
It’s because of women like Susan B. Anthony, who founded the American Equal Rights Association, coined the phrase “men their rights, and nothing more; women, their rights, and nothing less”, and was arrested for illegally voting in 1872 and refusing to pay her fine. (source)
It’s because of women like Lucy Burns, Dora Lewis, and Alice Paul, who along with 30 other women, were arrested for picketing the White House and were later imprisoned at the Occoquan Workhouse, experiencing what is known today as the ‘Night of Terror.’ (source)
By the end of this night, some of the women were barely alive. They had been beaten, tortured, choked, and chained to their cells. Attacked by their prison guards, they were treated inhumanely and stripped of their dignity and worth, simply because they were fighting for my right to vote today.
So I do feel that voting is an obligation of mine. But today it’s not because I feel that it is my duty as an American citizen.
Today, voting is an obligation for me because for years, brave women were willing to look fear straight on and not cower to powerful men. They stood on sidewalks with signs while policemen stood in the streets with hoses and clubs, endured beatings, illegally voted, were tortured, and went on hunger-strikes. They campaigned, had secret newsletters, started organizations, and did everything in their power to fight for women’s rights. And they never backed down, no matter how bruised and bloodied they ended up. My freedom to choose today whether or not I want to vote was more important to them than their personal freedoms and their own safety.
How dare I even consider not voting. Not when she risked so much, gave up so much, and endured so much. For me. A girl she didn’t even know but fought for so hard.
Regardless of how I feel about the election and the candidates, I will vote today. Because today I vote for her. In her memory. And as I cast my ballot, I’ll tell her thank you.
Just show up today, friends. Make a prayerful and wise decision and then go vote. Let’s honor the women who went before us and made a way.