As I sit in front of my computer, I keep praying that I would somehow blink and when I open my eyes, this post would be fully written and God will have somehow written out the words I am to write today. Because honestly, blogging on Good Friday feels enormously overwhelming to me, simply because I have so many thoughts and emotions running through me that I know that I will not be able to do justice to articulate what today means.
Today is Friday. Today is the day my Lord was beaten, spit on, stripped, mocked, restrained, humiliated, laughed at, forsaken and killed. Today is a day that Jesus willingly walked in to, knowing what it would cost Him. (“Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours be done.” Luke 22:42) Today is the day where eternity was changed, where my sins, my disgusting behaviors, were nailed to the cross and the curtain was torn, making personal, daily relationships with our Savior possible.
Today overwhelms me. Today reminds me of the cost that was paid for the ability to spend eternity with my Lord. So often we fast forward through today, we lump this weekend together as “Easter weekend” and speak merely of the resurrection, but we forget about Friday. We forget about the pain, the death, the sorrow, and the sacrifice that was needed in order to get to Sunday.
If you have never seen this video, I encourage you to watch it. It’s based on S.M. Lockridge’s sermon and I can’t make it through the first “It’s Friday …” without the tears welling up.
“It’s Friday. The world’s winning. People are sinning. And evil’s grinning. It’s Friday. The soldiers nail my Savior’s hands to the cross. They nail my Savior’s feet to the cross. And then they raise him up next to criminals. It’s Friday. But let me tell you something, Sunday’s comin’.”
Here’s the thing, Sunday does come. Just as Jesus went through Friday and Saturday, He got to Sunday – and what a beautiful, victorious day that was. Sometimes in our life, we go through seasons of Fridays and Saturdays. The days of grief and pain, the days of feeling forsaken and the days where it seems everyone has turned on you. We go through the silence of the Saturdays. Where we mourn and we don’t know what’s going on. The pain is so confusing, the comfort we thought was coming doesn’t come and our world seems empty. And perhaps our Saturdays stretch into long periods of time, feeling like they will never end. Why? Why is this happening? We begin the prayer of Jesus and ask for the cup to be removed, the pain to go away, the trial to be lifted. We deserve that! We deserve our miracle. We don’t deserve to go through this pain! Ah, our selfish hearts. We forget to follow up our prayers with the second half of Jesus’ prayer in Luke, “Nevertheless not my will but yours be done.” Here’s the thing though, Sunday does come. Sunday may take a little longer to get here for some of us, but Sunday does come. There is victory to be found. It may not look like what you imagined it to look like, but I guarantee, it will be better than you expected. The stone will be rolled away. The linens will be stripped off and there will be freedom found.
“And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly…” (Luke 22:45a) How often, when we are in great agony, do we pray more earnestly? I tend to find myself in those times simply complaining more, venting more, talking about it more, but do I pray more earnestly? Do I begin to sweat like great drops of blood falling to the ground? That intense prayer. That’s what praying not my will, but yours be done looks like. That’s trusting in our Father.
Today is a reminder to me that even Jesus, the Son of Man and Lord of Lords had to suffer. (And suffer doesn’t even seem like a nearly strong enough word, it’s been far too dulled down.) My “sufferings” seem so small, petite, tiny, minuscule, compared to what He went through. Today empowers me to remember that because of this weekend – because of His death and resurrection – we have already won. We have all we need.
Craig Groeschel says, “The right perspective changes everything. When all you can think of is what you want to complain about, you can be pretty miserable and ungrateful. But when you shift your focus, your heart changes. Instead of being poisoned by ingratitude, you’re transformed by gratitude and contentment.”
My prayer for all of us this Easter is that we can become more aware of the sacrifice we have been given and then, begin to shift our eyes and our focus from ourselves and our own sufferings, and develop a spirit of gratitude for all we have been given, starting with the gift of salvation for those who choose Him.
Sunday comes. God wins. Death is squelched. Praise the Lord!!!