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Saturday: The Burial of a Dream
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding."
Jesus has been buried with Roman centurions posted by the tomb to protect it from tampering. At the arrest of Jesus, his disciples had "deserted him and fled." Where they went that night, I do not know. Eventually, they did regroup, huddling in fear behind locked doors as they hid from the Jewish authorities.
This is not how they had written the script. They were to be reigning not running. What happened to the promise of the Kingdom? How could the Christ... die? Not only die but suffer such a humiliating defeat.
The disciples had expected to win. But on Saturday all hope looks entirely lost.
Saturday must have felt like the burial of a dream.
If only we had some of those Saturday conversations recorded.
Certainly, someone removed the cork from the bottle with the question, "Where is God in this?" Others would have chimed in, "What purpose can he possibly have to allow such an injustice? I thought he was sovereign. I thought he loved us. What did we do wrong to deserve this? It is not fair. We gave our lives to follow him."
Aren't these the same questions we ask when God seems distant? When it feels as if he is busy taking care of problems on the other side of the world and has abandoned us -- forgotten and forsaken us. Why is he silent to our prayers?
Why the sickness? Why the accident? Why the rain? Why the brokenness? Why the divorce? Why the pain?
The hardest thing about Saturday is the wondering and waiting. We do not get our “why questions” answered on Saturday. And in this life, Saturdays can feel like an eternity.
I'm not sure how much to read into this, but Saturday was the Jewish Sabbath. This was the day that the Lord had instituted for the Jews to set aside their vocational labors to force themselves to trust in God's provision.
The Sabbath originated in the Israelites' desert wanderings from Egypt to the promised land. Along the way, the Lord provided manna for them to eat. They called it bread from heaven. It would appear in the morning like corn flakes on the ground for the people to gather and use as a type of flour.
Typically, manna was good for twenty-four hours. Then it would spoil, which is why the Israelites had to gather it day by day. But on the seventh day, the Sabbath, the people were not to go out looking for their "daily bread" because the Lord would have provided enough on the sixth day to last through the Sabbath.
This was the day they were to rest and remember that God works while we rest. In fact, on this Saturday, he shows us that his greatest work is accomplished when we rest from our labor and trust in his labor for us.
What was God up to on Silent Saturday? More than anyone could imagine. I wonder if Isaiah 55:8-11 ever came up in their conversation.
8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord. 9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. 10 As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, 11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
Resting and Trusting
God's ways. God's purpose. Frustratingly beyond our grasp in the moment. Nevertheless, the very next day as history was shaken at its core, so many questions would begin to find answers.
They would slowly but surely come to understand that there was purpose in the humiliation of crucifixion. Hope had not been lost. Rather, hope had been secured! Every event that had unfolded was by divine design. In fact, Jesus's life wasn’t taken. It was given.
Because God loved us.
Which makes Saturday a day for resting in the reconciling love of our Abba, Father, who will never let us go. A Father whom we can trust on Saturdays with the childlike eyes of Solomon in Proverbs 3:5-6, who advised his own son, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding."
Good advice for Silent Saturday.
How did the disciples' expectations differ from what actually happened on Silent Saturday?
What questions do people typically ask when they feel like God is distant or silent to their prayers?
How does the concept of the Sabbath relate to the significance of Silent Saturday?
What can we learn from the fact that Jesus's life was given, not taken, and how can we apply this to our own lives?
How does trusting in the Lord with all your heart help during times of waiting and uncertainty, such as Silent Saturday?
We ask for the strength to rest in your love and to trust in you with all our hearts, even in the midst of uncertainty and waiting. Help us to lean not on our own understanding but to seek your guidance and direction.
We pray for those who are experiencing pain, brokenness, sickness, and loss, that they may find comfort and healing in your presence. We ask for your grace and mercy to be upon us, that we may be filled with your peace that surpasses all understanding.
Thank you for the sacrifice of Jesus and the hope that it brings us. We know that your ways are higher than ours, and we trust in your promises to bring beauty from ashes and to work all things together for our good.
In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.