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