Do you remember the first time you longed for a silver lining? A day when the light faded, hope fluttered, and your heart ached. In those moments, words are empty platitudes, nobody truly understands, and misery is the only company you’ll keep. These are life’s Saturdays, times of emotional and relational limbo shrouded in doubt and hopelessness.
We tend to focus on the Fridays. We’re great in the days immediately after a friend loses a loved one. A card is sent, we mourn with them at the funeral, and a warm meal is left on their kitchen counter; we’re great on the Fridays. The moment we learn our friend’s diagnosis we might literally drop what we’re doing and be there. If a shoulder is needed, it’s ours. If they need a meal, we’ll cook it. A ride to the hospital is in our car. Their pain becomes ours, until Saturday.
Everyone else’s life goes on. They’ve got errands to run, jobs that need them, and laundry wrinkling on the floor. But not yours, your life is stuck in this Saturday netherworld. Errands are unimportant, jobs can wait, and you couldn’t care less if your pants need ironing. The moment has passed; you’re all alone, haunted by Friday’s event and taunted by a tomorrow that never seems to come.
Job’s Friday was as terrible as the world has ever seen. He lost his farm, his kids, and his health in quick succession. I imagine there are some who survived Katrina or last year’s tornados who know Job’s heartache, no job, no family, no hope. The rest of Job’s story, most of it anyway, takes place on his Saturday. His wife, broken-hearted in her own right, sums it up in four profound words, “Curse God and die!”
Friday’s burn us, singing our spirits and scalding our hearts. Saturday’s are lived in the bitter chill of isolation. They say there are no atheists in fox holes, but I bet there are plenty lying helpless on hospital beds. Left alone with our thoughts, it’s easy to drown in self-pity or anger. If there is a God, why… why did he let this happen? Why didn’t he stop it? Doesn’t he care?
Jesus died on a Friday. Today we call it good, but for those who spent time with him good was the farthest thing from their minds. Saturday came in a hurry. Their king had been crucified. Their savior was dead. Was he a fraud? Was it a three-year charade? How had they been so foolish, so gullible? Mary lost a son. James lost a brother. John lost a dear friend. Fraud or not, they loved the bleeding, swollen man hanging on those wretched nails. A few wept, most scattered. If their leader could be lynched, they might be next. “Curse God,” Peter denied he ever knew him. “And die,” Judas hung himself. Good Friday? Not on Saturday it isn’t.
Life on Earth is a string of Fridays and Saturdays: pain, heartache, loneliness. Cancer, Alzheimer’s, and A.L.S. tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes, and Tsunamis. Anger, abandonment, and abuse. Judas’ reaction makes sense, Job’s wife offered sound advice… if their hadn’t been Sunday.
Sunday changed everything. The tomb was opened and Jesus had risen. Death was defeated by the son of God. A terrible Friday and lonely, hopeless Saturday were followed by the holiest of all Sundays. The day the curse was broken. The day death lost its sting. The day Heaven became possible and God’s kingdom drew near. On Sunday, Saturday doesn’t seem so long and Friday’s not so terrible.
Today is great for reflection; remembering loved ones we’ve lost, acknowledging brokenness in our body, and recognizing evil in the world; We have all had Friday moments. But it’s also a day to look forward; anticipating seeing our loved ones again, praying against the brokenness in our body and anticipating a healing today or in eternity, and rejoicing in evil’s eventual defeat. A little over 2,000 years ago, Sunday flipped the world on its ear. Jesus rose from the dead and hope won forever.
If you’ve had a Friday recently, or if you’re in a Saturday moment; can I encourage you? Know that Sunday is coming, in either this life or the next, it’s coming. Cancer might take your hair, but don’t let if crush your spirit. Alcohol might have stolen your child, but don’t let it steal your heart. Maybe you inflicted pain on yourself, carrying regret or guilt as if it were required. It’s not. You need carry it no longer. Jesus carried in on the cross, drug it kicking and screaming to the tomb, and left it there. Yours no more.
Tomorrow we celebrate that Sunday, but the truth is we’re living in the Sunday era. Job was given back what he lost, and then some. Peter was reinstated and given a great honor. You were bought for a price, and are an heir to the Kingdom of God. If you’re carrying Friday’s pain or Saturday’s guilt, let Jesus’ Sunday have it. Salvation is available to you, in fact it’s available to “whosoever believes.” If you’re reading this you qualify. God does care. No one can answer exactly why your particular pain occurred, but we can tell you God understands. He too knows scorn, heartache, and the death of a loved one. He knows what it is to be alone, abandoned, and abused. He had His Saturday alone, so you wouldn’t face an eternity that way.
If you have any questions, please comment or send me a message. You could also find a church to sneak into tomorrow morning. I promise they’ll be expecting you. But whatever you do, don’t keep living without Sunday.