Saturday, April 7, 2012

Saturday


“Waiting, waiting for something to happen . . . .”

Many years ago, I wrote this to describe my own unmet longing. 

The wait was for a spiritual experience I’d heard about from so many.  That moment when they’d recognized, without a doubt, God’s presence.  A moment transformed from defeat to victory, from pain to joy, from shame to forgiveness.  A moment accompanied by the overwhelming, even palpable sense (“I just knew beyond a shadow of a doubt”) of His presence, His activity, His being “for” them.  A life-changing, pivotal moment after which a life was never the same. 

A moment that served as proof-positive of the Divine existence, of the Father’s love, of His gracious, merciful, undeserved approval. 

A moment I still wonder whether I await, twenty years later.

I’ve known the symptoms:  The knot in the pit of my stomach.  The overwhelming sense of His nearness.  A flash of unexpected insight.  A “word.”  Chillbumps. Tears.  Elation. 

Sooner or later, though, the symptoms subside.  The knot loosens.  The tears dry up.  The epiphany isn’t so life-altering.  Elation fades to neutrality, ambivalence, apathy, melancholy.

A moment that felt so intensely of life ended up feeling like death.

Like Friday, when so many saw Christ breathe His last. 
When the source of such life somehow succumbed to death.

Is this how Martha’s sister, Mary, felt, remembering her joy at hearing her Friend’s affirmation of her attentiveness to Him?

Is this what Peter, James, and John felt, recalling the honor of seeing Christ transfigured right before their very eyes?

Is this how the woman felt, weeping as she watched the blood drip from the Healer who had halted her own issue of blood?

Even though Christ often alluded to the cruel death He faced, it must have been more than a devastating blow to their hearts.  To their faith.  To their hope.

How were they to make sense of this terrifying turn of events?  For they’d gotten to walk alongside the very Hope they’d anticipated for so many years before He came.  They’d seen so many transformations, so many miracles.  Defeat to victory.  Pain to joy.  Shame to forgiveness.  Blindness to sight.  Death to life. 

Life-changing, pivotal moments.  Moments that gave them proof-positive of God’s love, of His gracious, merciful, undeserved approval.

Moments that ended with what must have sounded like a most terrible proclamation:  “It is finished.”

Did those words shake their faith like the quake that came during those darkened daylight hours? 

Was the burial of their Friend’s body the entombment of the Hope He had invited them to embrace?

What were they to do . . . to think . . . to believe now?

All that He’d said seemed, at best, part of the past.  At worst, it had simply never been true.

Was this some cruel cosmic prank?

Perhaps most tragically:  to whom could they take their questions?  The very One to whom they’d gone no longer had breath to respond.

As they awakened that awful Saturday, all that was left was to pray, to wonder, to decide how (and whether) to hope again, to decide what to hope for. 

And to wait, wait for something to happen.

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