“THE DAY IN BETWEEN”
April 4, 2010
Friday was awful; Sunday was awesome. But in between there was Saturday. I was thinking today how absolutely brutal the day after the crucifixion must have been for Christ’s disciples. They were in between the death and the resurrection, in between the agony and the ecstasy, in between the horror of the cross and the glory of the empty tomb, in between the knowledge that all was lost and the realization that everything was gained, in between the sting of death and the victory of life, in between the curse of Adam and the blessing of Christ, in between the tyranny of the grave and the freedom of grace, in between the horror of hell and the hope of heaven.
Fortunately, Christ’s original followers only had to endure one day in between Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday. Believers today all live on the other side of Sunday. We know about the glory of the empty tomb, the victory of life, the blessing of Christ, the freedom of grace, and the hope of heaven. We know that “…Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” – 1Corinthians 15:20. We know that God “…has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade…” – 1Peter 1:3-4. We know that “…because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions…” – Ephesians 2:4-5.
So if we know all this, why do we still live as though death was this all powerful enemy to be loathed and feared? Why do we still waste so much time and energy complaining about the state of the world, the state of our finances, the state of our health, and acting like we’re on our way to a funeral? Why do we so often find ourselves devoid of the joy of the Lord? Why do we so often act as though we were stuck in Saturday?
When Jesus gathered with His disciples on the night He was arrested He knew that their faith in Him was about to be shaken to its core. They were about to experience the worst two days of their lives. Not only would they witness the agony of His death on Friday, they would also experience the total absence of Christ on Saturday. For the first time in three years they would be completely removed from His presence. They were about to live through the “in between.” So He prayed to His Father on their behalf saying: “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them.” – John 17:13.
If Jesus’ final requests included an immeasurable amount of joy for His followers why do we so often allow the things of this world to rob us of His joy? Can financial stress, unemployment, poor health, sour relationships, failing businesses, political turmoil, or shattered dreams compare to the riches of eternity with Christ in heaven? “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.” – Habakkuk 3:17-18. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” – James 1:2-4. “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” – Hebrews 12:2. “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” – Philippians 4:4.
The answer to the Saturday blues is to keep your focus on Sunday. Whenever you find yourself in between your dilemma and His solution, in between your defeat and His victory, in between your sorrow and His joy, in between Good Friday and Easter, imagine yourself among the women who went to a tomb early one morning to anoint death but were instead surprised by life. Listen as they were told by two angels, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!” – Luke 24:5-6. Imagine what it was like to have one incredible dawn obliterate the worst day of your life. Imagine having the darkness of your Saturday eclipsed by the brightness of His Sunday. And then realize that we are already living in Sunday!
Bill, a child of God rejoicing in Sunday