The Darkness of Good Friday and COVID-19
Today is the day when dreams died.
The day that everything we had devoted ourselves to, everything we have suffered for, everything we thought about our future, and everything that we trusted… DIED.
The day that our most precious relationship, around which all of life had become situated, appeared to have been a lie.
The future we had constructed was crumbling right in front of us.
This. Can’t. Be happening.
Every step up that hill called Golgotha blood poured from his back and dripped from his head, we were so certain rescue would come.
God can’t die. So we watched with baited anticipation for the moment miraculous intervention would demonstrate to the world that He was, indeed, God incarnate.
That moment never came on this infamous dark Friday.
He breathed his last breath hanging on that cross, humiliated, defeated, lifeless, wrapped carefully, placed in a tomb behind a massive boulder which sealed the death of all we knew to be reality.
It is a day of disappointment, humiliation, defeat, failure.
That is Friday. That is today.
In 2020, we know the resurrection is coming. But on the day of his death, the people who trusted him did not.
Evil had won.
For some of us, that feels eerily similar to this COVID-19. We’ve lost loved ones. We’ve lost income. We’ve lost a business. Or we’re essential workers living in constant crises and fear of infecting our loved ones.
The future feels uncertain, disrupted, bleak.
It is times like this when dreams die and hope dwindles, when the sun has gone behind some very dark proverbial clouds that our souls scramble for something to cling to. Something to keep us from falling, to ensure our existence as we know it does not dissipate into a vapor of anxiety-driven lostness.
When the disciples were mourning and weeping, Mary Magdalene went to tell them He had risen and she’d actually SEEN Him. Their response? Did they celebrate? Did squeal with glee? Did they weep in relief?
Nope. They refused to believe it. (Mark 15:11)
Despondency is real. It is so swept up in the grief, terror, shock, defeat, that it refuses to let light in.
It is a time, beloved family, that we’ve been ushered into a season of profound loss. Loss in a multitude of forms. We are being beckoned to resist the urge to scramble for idols of certainty and, rather, lean in to the One who is our certainty.
When losses of things/people that bring us peace result in lack of peace, it is a time to lean into the arms of He who is our Peace.
We may not have tangible markers of what is coming ahead, but we have the open arms of the One who does. If we can situate our hearts squarely in those open arms, it will remain tenderly connected to the only One who authors life and peace and hope.
Only one thing is an earthly certainty: death. Which means after that the most glorious life – one which we cannot fathom because it is not laden with the sufferings of earth – will greet us on the other side no matter what we face on earth.
This is the hope of the Gospel. The hope that is an anchor for the broken, worrying, fretting, scrambling soul. The hope that quiets us like a weaned baby on their mother’s lap.
And it is this hope that enables us to endure whatever comes in this life. When I remind myself what is coming on the other side – no loss, no betrayal, no tears, no worry, only glory – this restores the perspective of Whose arms I am invited to rest in.
The One who will light the next step when I need it. The One who doesn’t give peace but is peace. The One who knows the beginning from the end and where our “next” will fit into it.
In any adversity we face, we can be certain that at least one desire of the Father is restore us to Himself. Our nature is to slowly drift toward dependence on the things in this life; finding meaning, value, worth, peace in the things of this world. Which means when we are stripped of them, it is always, at the least, an opportunity to be restored back to the Father.
May we rest, beloved. May we find stillness in Him. May we be restored even in our losses.
May He be our certainty.