Friday, April 15, 2022

What Saturday's Stillness Says


 "...But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment." Luke 23:56b

       By nature I am a talker. Silence makes me uncomfortable. How can I know what you are thinking if you aren't speaking? How can you know what I am thinking if I'm not speaking? Anyone who has ever spent any great amount of time with me doesn't have to worry about that. I won't be quiet for long. 

    But there are times when even I do not speak. It doesn't happen often, although as I mature it seems to be increasing in frequency. I think perhaps it is a sign of wisdom. I am least prone to speak when I am angry-it is not a good sign if I stop talking in the middle of a fight. But I have also learned to limit my words when someone is grieving. I have begun to see that there are no words that I have that can make that right. At those times people usually just want someone to be with them, not offer empty platitudes or trite phrases of consolation. They don't need the sound of my voice, just to know they are not alone is enough. 

  "The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." Deuteronomy 31:8

    Today is Good Friday. Sunday is Easter. Saturday is...silence?  We tremble before the power of the crucifixion. We rejoice at the power of the Resurrection. But what power does Saturday hold?

I like to think it holds the power of silence.

Sometimes when God doesn't seem to be saying anything He is speaking the loudest. Sometimes He is sitting with us in our grief. That verse is from the Old Testament. Well in advance of Jesus' death God had promised to be with His people. Jesus time in the tomb did not undo that promise. 

"For the word of the LORD is right and true; He is faithful in all He does." Psalm 33:4

What happens in silence? We start to listen. We wait. We think of what we already know. When God does not seem to be moving we should start paying the closest of attention. There are times we have strayed from His immediate presence, to be sure. But I have found that in times of grief and loss, confusion and pain, we feel like God is not moving. And perhaps it is because He is sitting with us in our grief.

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." Psalm 34:18 

   I cannot speak for those waiting women. But Scripture speaks for them. Look at it again:

 "...But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment." Luke 23:56b

The emphasis is mine, but every word of Scripture is true. In the dozens of English translations that word is rendered "rested" except in one (Darby) that says "remained quiet." 

    What do rest and grief have in common? How can you be at peace in times of greatest loss? How can you remain quiet when your heart is wailing with fear and loss? Was there any greater loss than that of Jesus? How could these women rest? How could they remain quiet?

"There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God's rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from His." Hebrews 4:9-10 

"When He had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished." With that, He bowed His head and gave up His spirit." John 19:30 

We can rest when our work is done. And our work is done for us because we could never do it ourselves. We can remain quiet in the stillness of grief, knowing that we don't have to fight anymore. The battle is won. God didn't have to speak in the stillness of Saturday, the Word had already been spoken. All that remained was to believe. 

   And that is how we can rest in the stillness of whatever Saturday we may be currently going through. The end has already been written and it is glorious. The Word has already spoken and He is victorious. We can live on Saturday like it is already Sunday. We can walk in the same faith knowing He is risen even while He seems to be very silent, as still as the grave. 

"The angel said to the women, 'Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; He has risen just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay." Matthew 28:5-6

  He has already spoken. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. (John 1:14) He is with us, He is for us, He has given us rest. So if this "Saturday" seems so silent you feel like you are going crazy, remember that rest is possible. If those women could have enough faith in the promises of God to rest while Jesus was in the tomb, you can find rest in Him here. He is using the silence to speak and it is saying:

"For no matter how many promises God has made, they are 'Yes' in Christ. And so through Him the 'Amen' is spoken by us to the glory of God." 2 Corinthians 1:20 


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