The world is trapped in yesterday — spinning repeatedly in a silent Saturday, and many of us are asking questions of God. Why is this happening? How could you allow such pain? When will you stop it?
Jesus died on Friday, and on Saturday, God was silent.
But then came the morning.
Stacked against God was death, destruction, and the grave. But when He died on a cross atop a cloud-covered hill called Golgotha, all of heaven began counting down from three. Because victory — resurrection — was on His way.
There’s pain, though, on Saturday. We feel the pangs of brokenness in the space between the already and the not yet. Think of Jesus’ mother Mary. Even knowing her child was the one true and living God, she had to feel the agony of separation from her beloved Son.
I went to a concert some years ago where I heard Mark Lowry, the writer of the song “Mary, Did You Know,” talk about what inspired the lyrics. On the phone with his own mother one day, Lowry recalled the words she told him when he asked her why she’s certain Jesus is who He said He was. She told Lowry that Mary’s silence at the foot of the cross is proof He was God, because no mother could bear such horror.
Mary knew in faith what we know now through Scripture.
We aren’t able to see one another face-to-face this Easter Sunday, because we’re in the middle of our own silent Saturday. Like Mary, God is asking us to have faith in the already and trust that the not yet is on its way.
The coronavirus is here, and the pain it’s causing is undeniable. It’s sent our economy into a tailspin; it’s claimed the lives of thousands of loved ones; it’s sparked anxiety and depression in many; it’s stolen the livelihoods of countless people here at home and around the world.
But Easter is here, and morning is coming.
For those who trust in Jesus, who endured the punishment for our sins so we don’t have to, death isn’t definitive. The coronavirus is not the end.
We will get through this pandemic — there is light at the end of this dark tunnel. But there’s an even greater, eternal light already here. We don’t have to wait for it.
Aware of His own impending crucifixion and of the persecution His disciples would surely face, Jesus told them this:
“Dear friends, don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot do any more to you after that. But I’ll tell you whom to fear. Fear God, who has the power to kill you and then throw you into hell. Yes, He’s the one to fear” (Luke 12:4-5).
All this world can do to us is kill our bodies. Jesus promised plagues and pestilence, persecution and pain, and in those things, He told His disciples, you will have the “opportunity to tell them about me” (Luke 21:13).
We are Easter people. Even in the midst of this pandemic, we are calmed by an inexplicable hope — an ever present assurance that victory is here, He has a name, and everyone who confesses their sins to Him and trusts Him for salvation will be free from the chains of death.
So my prayer this Sunday is the prayer of David: that we will find joy in this season and the next, because we know Jesus.
“Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you” (Psalm 51:12).