The Dark Day Before Resurrection

by Mindy Kiker

I call it “Somber Saturday” — one of my favorite days of the year nestled between Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday.  I relish the reflections that this day invites. In anguish, I imagine the confusion and sorrow that must have wrapped itself around Mary, the disciples and all those who loved the Rabbi from Nazareth.

Many believed He was the Son of God, come to save the Hebrew nation from the scourge of Roman rule. Little did they realize that this lofty hope was too small a calling, too small a mission for the one true Messiah.

Jesus’ followers did not yet comprehend the magnitude of what God planned to accomplish — the Lamb had come to earth, Jehovah made flesh, to rescue ALL people for ALL time from the scourge of sin, death, sickness, and every kind of evil.

But imagine this day before resurrection with the horror of the cross freshly seared in their minds, certain that all was lost. Their Hero, their Hope was dead, laying lifeless in a tomb. Their dreams perished with Him. I can imagine their feelings of betrayal, “But God, we believed! We thought He was the Messiah, but He failed us. You failed us.”

Yes, I would have reacted the same. That is why I love this somber Saturday nestled between death and life: we simply cannot comprehend the plans of God. Isaiah 55:8 reminds us that God’s ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts. He sees the full picture that is mysterious to us. How we need the gift of faith and trust, otherwise we despair when our circumstances look hopeless.

But what if the hopeless situation is actually the path to overcoming? What if death is going to yield new life? What if there is beauty hidden in those ashes?

I don’t know what path you are walking today. You may feel that your dreams have died, that your hope has perished. You may be afraid and angry that there is only loss, sickness, death, and darkness that surrounds you.

And you may be right in your assessment. On this day, Jesus’ beloved followers, family, and friends could all point to the reality of the lifeless body that lay in a dead-man’s tomb.

But what does tomorrow hold?

Those wrapped in grief and shock did not know what was to come. All they knew was that Jesus was dead. He had “failed” in the smaller mission that they assumed was His calling, but when the sun rose on the third day, Jesus too would rise and crush the power of sin and death once and for all.

“. . . May you know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.” Ephesians 1:18-21 (NIV)

I pray that God imparts hope to you today, that His great power will comfort you and reassure you that He is at work in your life. May you be filled with eager curiosity that asks, “What does tomorrow hold, God? I don’t want to give up the day before the miracle. Please help me believe with a steadfast heart.” Yes, and amen.