"And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last." (Mark 15:37)
That wasn't the ending the followers of Jesus had expected. Even after walking with Him, knowing the Scriptures, and hearing His teachings, they didn't expect this. This declaration of death. This despairing finality. This hopeless darkness.
This God-man they had surrendered their lives to was horrendously mocked and brutally executed. This dear friend they had lived life with was no longer beside them.
Just nights before they had feasted together. They experienced the intimacy of Jesus bending down to wash their feet, to serve them, to show them true love. And just days before that they watched Him triumphantly enter into the city with great praise from the people.
But now He was in a tomb. The One who healed the sick now lied dead. The One who spoke about the Kingdom of God and forgave sins now was silent. The One who said He was the way, the truth, and the life now was covered in darkness.
Much like the 400 years of prophetic silence that preceded the birth of Jesus, the people felt alone and confused, rejected and abandoned. Silence and darkness covered their hearts, covered the land. Heartbreak and turmoil wrecked them. Defeat and loss and disorientation and grief surely overwhelmed them.
And even now there are moments in our lives when we feel alone, confused, rejected, abandoned. Silence and darkness seem to hover for a moment, for a season, or for a lifetime. Despite our prayers or our search for hope and help and answers, God seems silent.
But this Holy Saturday, between the cross and the resurrection, reminds us that God is always at work. The birth of Jesus was proclaimed only after centuries of silence. The resurrection of Jesus happened only after His crucifixion.
The moments when God seems most silent can actually be moments where He is orchestrating the most redeeming moments of our lives.
Sometimes the most painful moments of waiting are followed by the most joyful moments of grace.
The darkest moments of our lives can be followed by the most wonderful moments of beauty.
Beauty comes from ashes. Joy comes from suffering. Renewal comes from rubble. Comfort comes from mourning. Hope comes from despair. Life comes from death.
The moments of agonizing wait and pain, loss and hardship in this life do not have the final say. Praise be to God that Jesus is near during those dark times, and He can comfort us in them because He knows pain and fully knows the ache of the Father turning His face away.
Therefore, we can find hope and encouragement in the times of darkness and silence. We can have confidence that our prayers are heard, our tears are seen, our hurts are understood. We can trust that God is working. We can know that through it all God is good and faithful. And we can rejoice because He is working all things out for our good and His glory.
Sarah loves Jesus and her family and is passionate about addressing the urgent spiritual and physical needs around the world. She is the wife of Spencer and mama of Katherine and Claire, and they live in Nashville, TN. She runs a photography business with her husband and writes in order to offer encouragement and invite others to choose grace, joy, and gratitude in the adventure and the mundane. She loves traveling and reading; she will choose unsweet tea over sweet and bootcut jeans over skinny; and she is all sorts of awkward with small talk but thrives with deep conversations.