Holy Saturday is so underrated.
Seriously, have you ever really stopped to think about it? Have you ever wondered what happened in between the agony of the cross and the glory of the resurrection?
Between the disciples fearfully fleeing for their lives and boldly witnessing in the face of death? What happened in between the seeming defeat of Good Friday and the triumph of Easter Sunday?
Not much. Well, at least not at first glance.
We can only imagine what the disciples must have felt after the crucifixion. They had just watched the man they lovingly followed for the last three years suffer a humiliating death at the hands of His persecutors. Do you ever wonder what they were thinking as they scattered and hid? They must have been gripped by a nagging sense of doubt, not only in Christ, but in themselves as well.
As the disciples waited, they probably grew angry with God, questioning and losing hope in His plan. They probably felt abandoned — as if God had stirred up a passionate longing deep in their hearts only to leave them with nothing. Although they couldn’t see it, Christ was at work on Holy Saturday preparing their hearts for His glorious return.
Isn’t it interesting that God didn’t reveal His plan immediately? He certainly could have. Instead, He allowed the disciples to sit in the ache of loneliness and longing.
He saw a purpose in the wait.
In a lot of ways, God still makes us wait today. It’s not difficult to remember the times in our lives when we prayed to God asking for the desires of our hearts only to receive silence or the famous “not yet” (don’t you just love that one?). We’ve all been there.
For some of us, one of the biggest “not yet’s” we experience comes in terms of being single. It seems as though just saying the word “single” brings us discomfort. Because we all want to be loved, we often think of being single as being stuck with the opposite of our desires. Many times, we singles can relate to the disciples’ feelings of doubt, loneliness, and longing. But truthfully, God has a purpose in making us wait for the glorious occasion of love.
Just like Holy Saturday, the importance of patiently waiting for authentic love is easily overlooked. We don’t know what to do with the wait, so we try to rush it away. Rather than sitting in that ache of loneliness and longing, trusting that God will bring the person He has handpicked for us, we start to grasp at what’s available. We start to settle for the cheap imitations of love this world tries to offer. But as time goes on, our longing only becomes more desperate and our dissatisfaction grows deeper. We’re left longing for something more.
But more of what?
The longing for love is deeply rooted into our souls. We were created to ache with a desire for union and intimacy. However, we’ve bought the lie that this ache can only be fulfilled by bringing it to another person — a person with an ache all of their own. We keep looking to the people and things of this world to satisfy a God-given longing for eternity, and we wonder why we come up empty. Saint Augustine recognized this struggle over sixteen hundred years ago when he said, “You have made us for Yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You.”
God is the only one who can truly satisfy our hearts, and the only thing stronger than our ache for Him is His ache for us. Through Christ’s crucifixion on Good Friday, He gave us a glimpse into His passionate longing and showed us the love our hearts crave. He showed us that authentic love can only be found in humility, vulnerability, and total self-giving. In Christ we see a love that holds nothing back. While He carried His cross to take our place, Christ fell. Have you ever thought about that? The God of the universe longs for you so deeply that He publicly fell for you. He thought you were worth the weight of the world on His shoulders. He has fallen so deeply and passionately in love with you that He laid down His life so that He wouldn’t have to risk spending eternity without you.
Once we realize that our longing for love is truly a longing for God and His love for us, our waiting for our future spouse starts to look different. We begin to see that our singleness has purpose. Just as God allowed the disciples to ache on Holy Saturday to prepare them for a glory they could not comprehend, He is also using the ache of our singleness to prepare us for a love story so much better than we could envision for ourselves.
That’s the beautiful promise of Holy Saturday– God is always at work in our waiting. Even at our darkest times, as we stumble from one distraction to another and lose hope in His plan, God is working all things together for our benefit. He is calling us to sit with Him in our wait, rather than rush it away. He wants to use our singleness to refine us, challenge us, and transform us more into the disciples He has called us to be. He wants us to deeply and intimately know His love so that we can go out and boldly share it.
Christ’s glorious resurrection on Easter Sunday assures us that we have every reason to hopefully wait for the desires of our hearts. God only allows us to long because He intends to fulfill! So choose to wait in joy in between the longing and the fulfillment, confident in the promise that He will not disappoint!
Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him. – Psalm 62:5