We have recently celebrated Holy Week with its tragic Friday event and the victorious Resurrection Sunday.
But the day in the middle – the silent Saturday – lives on in many of our lives.
It must have been the darkest day for those early believers. Their Savior was dead and the resurrection was only a prophecy they weren’t sure would become reality.
Discouragement. Frustration. Doubt.
In hindsight, we know the end of the story. But silent Saturdays continue to haunt many present day believers.
We have come to faith, considered the meaning behind the crucifixion and based our lives on its Gospel message. We know Christ lives and will return again. The Holy Spirit gifts us and guides us. All that is good.
Yet many of us still dwell within our personal silences:
The woman who has prayed for her abusive husband, now going on 28 years. She believes yet the answer waits behind the veil of Saturday’s silence. He continues to abuse her. She continues to stay because she believes God has asked her to.
The man who needs a job to support his family. He is trained, highly educated with stellar references, yet his silent Saturday continues. His hope dries like brittle resumé
The family that has journeyed through cancer with a beloved child. Every remission brings hope. Then another tumor interrupts hope. Their silent Saturdays revolve around chemo, radiation treatments and the fear that constantly threatens.
The spouse who sits beside his beloved – a woman who no longer recognizes him. Alzheimer’s has stolen his resurrection joy because her afflicted brain is wrapped in the tentacles of a silent Saturday.
The writers who persevere , waiting for that first book contract
The hostages who pray for release
The marginalized who fight for equality and wonder how many years and how many court dates exist between Friday and Sunday
At some point in life, we all struggle to endure another day – to somehow crawl past our silent Saturdays into victorious Sunday.
But the waiting continues and requires courage to keep breathing, keep struggling, keep hoping.
Answers hide within the loving heart of God as our “Why” questions echo off canyon walls of aloneness.
Yet the only hope we truly have is to repeat the glorious cries of those early believers. “He is not here.” Resurrection dawns.
Someday time will morph into eternity. Silent Saturdays will no longer exist and we will understand why we needed to wait so long.
All we can do now is cling to the hope that Sunday will return. Then we will forever be finished with the silence.
As the Kansas winter blustered through my yard, I noticed a unique snapshot of the season.
Although all the other leaves had already let loose and dropped to the ground, one leaf still hung on.
In spite of the wind, the calendar day and its length of life – a lone leaf clung tightly to the branch that had given it life.
It didn’t take long to wrap my heart around the analogy and honor thousands of saints who continue to cling tightly to their true source of life.
They persevere in spite of the calendar days that scream, “You should have given up already.”
They hang on in spite of the circumstances of life or the opinions of others or even of well-meaning friends who speak cruelty.
These are people who inspire me to persevere as well:
The single mom who drives her children to church even though she has been shunned because she’s divorced
The writer who revises the same manuscript seven times until every word is as good as it can possibly be – then ignores another rejection to revise it again
The cancer patient who refuses to be a victim but spends her time during brutal radiation treatments, praying through her list of friends and family
The nonprofit organizations who operate on a financial shoestring and trust God to provide resources each and every day
The missionaries who continue to serve even when their prayers don’t merge with the answers they long to see
Persevering folks who keep hanging on to hope even when everything in life attacks them.
Brave and vulnerable caregivers who keep serving even when the days are 36 hours long.
Mothers who keep praying for their prodigals. Fathers who work jobs they hate so their children won’t go hungry. Christians who refuse to deny Christ even though faced with the wrath of a radical Muslim sect.
The power of those who persevere is modeled at the end of Hebrews 11 – saints who refused to be released from torturous prisons, faced rejection and persecution, were destitute and mistreated. They did not receive what they were promised but they hung on anyway. They persevered and “the world was not worthy of them.”
What is required to continue in hope when everyone else has let loose and fallen around us?
Courage and the grace to keep hanging on to the One who empowers us with resurrection life.