Good Friday

God transforms our hardest days, our “Good Fridays,” into the glorious victories of Easter. But He does so in His time and way, and we must trust Him.

“How was your day?” Nancy asked as I trudged in the door from work.

“Good,” I replied, with drawn face, slumped shoulders, and a shuffling gait.

Nancy frowned, “You look like it was awful.”

“No,” I said, “Every day above ground is a good day.”

“Mark, I am your wife. You need to tell me the truth – not just lies that you think that I want to hear.”

“Today was good, in the same way that Good Friday was good. Jesus died a horrific death, but God worked wondrous acts and eternal salvation from it,” I answered.

Nancy gave up the questions and followed me to the bedroom. I changed my clothes and laid on the bed where she gave me a back rub. Finally in a safe place with people who cared, the tension rolled out of my muscles. The gates to my heart, shut tight at work since I had to be, or at least appear to be, the perfect doctor and leader, cracked open. Soon Nancy brought love into my dark castle, and we began to heal.

I have had many “Good Friday” days in the past three years. Some have been vaguely troubling and others have been crushing. People that I thought were friends weren’t. Situations that I thought were secure weren’t. Anchors like money, accomplishments, a positive attitude, and hard work, which I relied on to keep my family and me safe through the tempests of life, failed. Unemployment, underperforming businesses, and separation followed. Noble activities that seemed to have the clear leading of the Lord ended in dust and ashes. Mistakes which seemed small had dire consequences. Confusion replaced certainty, and discouragement replaced drive. How much had I labored in vain?

Jesus had perfect knowledge of the will of the Father when He set His eyes on the cross. He knew what would happen on Good Friday and on Easter Sunday. He “built the house that God built,” so He did not labor in vain (Psalm 127:1). God’s victory over sin and death on this fateful weekend would begin with Jesus’ obedience and end with His power. Our Lord who suffered on the cross had perfect sight of God’s work. He had an enormous advantage over us wicked mortals, who can’t tell one hand from the other (Jonah 4:11).

Or did He? Jesus knew what would happen, but that knowledge was not the foundation of His trust and obedience. Rather, Jesus knew the Father, and that relationship enabled Him to endure the cross and despise the shame for the joy that His Father had set before Him (Hebrews 12:2). Every person on earth has bad and even devastating days, but for Christians striving to be faithful, these days are Good Fridays. Because we know God, we know that these Good Fridays, however crushing, will always be followed by Easter Sundays, however delayed.

Our minds are unstable and our hearts untrustworthy. The black of night seems to overwhelm the light of dawn. Our fears prevail over our hopes. We scream for our version of freedom, but our hearts cry for stability and hope. We miss His showers of blessings – our daily bread, clothing, shelter, and relationships – and yearn for the things that would destroy us.

The God who is great, who knows us perfectly, and who loves us, leads us into our Good Fridays. He also leads us out of them, and into our Easter Sundays.

How was my day? It was good.

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