Recently, I was doing some reading on hopelessness and faith. This time of Covid has impacted lives like nothing I’ve ever seen. Not just with physical health, mental health, jobs, finances, relationships, but also politically and economically. The affects of this virus have far reaching and worldwide impacts. As I watch friends lose their loved ones, jobs, relationships, and well laid plans and then subsequently to watch losing loved ones to suicide, it made me wonder about how a Christian should look at the time that we are in (Covid, civil unrest, elections, etc.). Can we be grieved, hopeless, depressed, and confused and still be a lover of Christ?
My quick answer to this question is vehemently a yes!
(I am not going to go into a vast survey of OT and NT scriptures here to address this topic, as I want to lay a quick and easy encouragement for you today, but I wholeheartedly appeal to you to read: Job, Psalms, Ecclesiastes, and Lamentations as marks of what it means to be a human living in a sinful world)
As I was doing my reading into this matter, I was struck by one giant parallel beauty that God has laid before us: We are living in the Saturday.
In the gospels of the NT we see that Christ came to earth, walked amongst His people; He instructed, directed, guided, and corrected. He foretold His impending death and resurrection several times, warning the apostles He wouldn’t be with them forever but not to lose hope, because it was a necessary part of the redemptive plan. After the death of Christ on Friday evening, there was an entire day that was left without Christ, only the memories of His teachings, His life, and His promises remained. Then came the great resurrection Sunday and death was abolished and the Genesis promise of the women’s seed bruising the head of the serpent was fulfilled.
Can you see the parallel of our earthly time unfold? The Old Testament is when God was among His people in very demonstrative and tangible ways. Granting His people His guidance, direction and correction; laying the foundations of His promises, His plans, and His love for us! This parallels the beauty of Christ walking with His people here on earth and giving His disciples all they needed for what was to come. Again, guiding, directing, correcting.
The Risen Sunday we see where Christ has defeated death and reemerges to His people, showing His power over death and fulfilling the promises of God. This is paralleled in the beauty that we look forward to His second coming; where we will see promises fulfilled, hope restored, and an eternity with our one true God in a place that He is preparing just for us!
So just as we see these two parallels, we can take assurance in the parallel of the Holy Saturday. The Saturday where all seemed lost, all seemed dire, but God was at work. You see, we don’t focus a lot on the pre-resurrection Saturday, because we want to skip to the end of the story where Christ wins, but we are missing an integral part of what Christ was trying to teach.
If we look at the conduct and mental status of the Apostles what do we find? Grief, doubt, fear, hopelessness, confusion (John 20, Luke 24). We look at this and think WOW, did they not hear what Christ had been warning them all along. They need not worry, He will return and this is all for a purpose under Heaven for His glory and our good (Rom 8)!!! But to judge their behavior would be to judge ourselves, would it not? We mustn’t look upon it in judgement, but in great hope! We see that we all fall short of where we should be… of what our hope should look like. We all too quickly lose sight of the promises of God and the purposes He set before us. We are fickle and selfish people. The Apostles too, (who just a day earlier were with Christ) were living their Saturday in fear rather than hope. This should give us great hope. For when Christ resurrected, He met them with joy and encouragement. Even Thomas (John 20:26) Christ met with great love affection, even though Thomas needed proof he was seeing Christ. Christ gave them what they desired to restore hope, not judgement in not holding fast to the promises. He meets us the same way!
Our Saturday is taking a bit longer than one day, but we have a few things going for us that they didn’t: 1. We have the assurance of the resurrection having been completed and the promises of God having set us free from sin being accomplished. This is huge because our shackles are cut loose and we have direct access to God to go to Him in reverence and awe as our Father for comfort and guidance. 2. We have the Holy Spirit imparted to us (John 16:17). Christ did not leave us to fend these Saturdays alone (seeing how hard it was for just one day hahah), we have the Holy Spirit living in each of us as believers to carry us through. The idea of God not giving us more than we can handle – is actually not a Biblical idea (this verse people reference actually refers to temptation and sin), but what the idea stems from is from God giving us the Holy Spirit- God in spirit form through whom we can do anything. For God DOES say that with Him all things are possible:
2 Corinthians 9:8, “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.”
Matt. 19:26, “And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Having the Holy Spirit, having Christ’s sacrifice, having Christ preparing a place for us along with the existing truths of God’s love for us and protection over us (Is. 45:11, “Thus says the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker: “Ask Me about the things to come concerning My sons, And you shall commit to Me the work of My hands.”) offer us the ability to rest in Him while we are here doing His work that He has prepared for us. We may be living in the Saturday, the waiting time before the promises, but we have much to do and much to hope in.
Just as the Apostles lost hope and were fearful, so do we fall into these times of confusion and doubt, but we rest in the promises kept and the proof of His unrelenting love of His children. We hold tight to the Holy Spirit and we cling to what we know is true. Phil. 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” We do not worry about tomorrow, we take care of today. We do not borrow trouble or assume inaccuracies. We do not worry about the world around us or what is to come, but we hold to God’s truths. We do not rely on the things, people, or promises this world has to offer, but we rely on what we know is at work.
Yes! Hold fast friends. I know that times right now seem perilous and fearful, but we know that God is with us, for us, and working towards His good purposes. We know His promises are true. We will not hide in the upper room with fear, but shout His name from the rooftops of our quarantined homes and know that He is doing great things, even now! We courageously stoke the fire of the truth that God wishes none to perish, so we spread the great news of His amazing love and care for us, knowing Sunday is coming.