Joy in our suffering!
Already in the great anticipation and excitement for Easter, many people have been wishing me “Happy Easter!” when we greet each other, even today on Good Friday. But I have found I just cannot respond with those words yet. I love Easter but how can we skip over the profundity and the purpose of Good Friday, and the quiet meaningfulness of Holy Saturday?
Often we want to do that in our own lives. We choose to ignore or deny or forget the “Good Friday” narratives in our own lives. But it is in those moments that we grow in strength, we become powerful in our vulnerability, we develop our relationships with God or our Higher Power (whatever we may call that) and with others, and we discover our capacity and the courage to move through these moments.
Consider your “Good Friday” moments. How do you talk about them, if at all? How do you go through them?
When I wrote the chapter on suicide in my book I looked to Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. And I wondered if in that moment, after being betrayed by someone close to him, knowing of his impending suffering, crushing under the weight of what was to come, if he too wanted to die. “Father” he pleaded, “take this cup from me.” But then as he prayed harder, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground and an angel came to strengthen him he surrendered, “yet not my will, but thy will be done.” And seeing his story from that perspective gave me and continues to give me hope. Hope that light and life will always make a way. Death is not the end. Hope that Resurrection is possible! Hope in the fact that God “will not fail us or forsake us” but will fill up our spines and hold us upright, from generation to generation as we crawl, walk, run toward the light of hope.
When I look back at my darkest moments of my depression, I can say I chose that story of hope, God’s story. Or rather, God’s story chose me. Because even in the valley of the shadow of death, God’s goodness and mercy chases after us!
Let us not forget our “good friday” moments. Let us be thankful for them and embrace them. Is it a wonder why this day of suffering is called “good”?
“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5:3-5
Yes! Easter is coming! There is always hope! Light will always find a way! Darkness is not dark to God!!
“If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,”even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.” Psalm 139
Amen and thank you.
A blessed Good Friday. Thank you for reading.
Tonight’s Good Friday service was especially meaningful as I took in the idea that Good Friday has to be and the night in the grave cannot be avoided, if there is to be an Easter with its new birth and new hope for life. Thank you for this lovely word that bears witness to this truth in such a powerful way.
Thank you for your courage and willingness to be a faithful witness to God’s great healing power.
Thank you! Thank God for Good Friday!