Waiting. Does it feel like you spend most of your time waiting? Waiting in line, for a break-through, for healing, or for a season to pass? One of the most excruciating waits in history was the Saturday between Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday. Many messages and devotionals have been written about this day. We wonder what the disciples felt as Jesus was taken from the cross and placed in a rich man’s tomb. How about His mother? Did she reflect back on the prophesy told by Simeon when Jesus was brought to the temple as a baby to fulfill Jewish custom?
“Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace,
as you have promised.
I have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared for all people.
He is a light to reveal God to the nations,
and he is the glory of your people Israel!”
Jesus’ parents were amazed at what was being said about him. Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, the baby’s mother, “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, and many others to rise. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him. As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.”
We see this pattern of hope in our lives–a problem, a wait, a change, and a resurrection of something new. It is our hope when we find ourselves in the “Saturday” of a an ongoing problem, and God eagerly prompts us to remember His faithfulness.
His Word for us this morning is longing. There is a reason we long for Sunday, for change, and for better.
“Longings will never be fulfilled on this side of eternity. We’re not completely happy here because we’re not supposed to be! Earth is not our final home; we were created for something much better.” (Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life, pg. 50)
As I sat in the waiting room of a loved one’s appointment, I was reading Rick Warren’s book and praying for them. The backdrop of this waiting room with pop music trying to convince me of someone’s undying love for their new lover, the old furniture, and all of us in their together–sick, hoping to get well–made my reading come to life. God’s timing is perfect. I’ve noticed that when we are available, He shows up.
“One of the greatest gifts God has given you is the ability to enjoy pleasure. He wired you with five senses and emotions so you can experience it. He wants you to enjoy life, not just endure it. The reason you are able to enjoy pleasure is that God made you in his image. We often forget that God has emotions, too. He feels things very deeply. The Bible tells us that God grieves, gets jealous and angry, and feels compassion, pity, sorrow, and sympathy as well as happiness, gladness, and satisfaction. God loves, delights, gets pleasure, rejoices, enjoys, and even laughs!” (Rick Warren, A Purpose Driven Life, pg. 64)
My friends, we may have many problems we are working out this side of heaven, some that may be so painful you wonder if you can get up and face another day. In light of eternity, God wants to show you that you can with His love and His peace. Jesus often told those he healed, “Go in peace!”, after their healing.
If God has given you the gift of pleasure, then use it! Gratitude produces joy (Brene Brown). Intentional play brings pleasure. In the midst of your wait, God begs you to engage in life and find great pleasure in the world He has created just for you. Notice the beauty. The research on loss has found that what people miss the most and remember about a loved one that has passed away are the ordinary, every day exchanges–even the ones that annoyed you. We don’t recognize the beauty until it is gone. Stop. Breathe. Notice. Ask God to help you see with His eyes. Be intentional to speak life giving words to yourself and others. Throw your head back and laugh!
“The Lord takes pleasure in his people.” Psalm 149:4a (TEV)
“You created everything, and it is for your pleasure that they exist and were created.” Revelation 4:11 (NLT)
This is not a Polly-Anna post or live in denial kind of suggestion. When I think about all that He has done for me in light of the cross and resurrection, I can’t help but sing despite my troubles.
When I write, I pray. I am praying for us to take pleasure and delight as we face Saturday together. We are blessed this side of the cross in knowing that the resurrection occurred, and we are set free! Our eternal hope secure in the knowledge of greater things to come!
“Now God’s home is with people. He will live with them. They will be his people. God himself will be with them and will be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death, sadness, crying, or pain. All the old ways are gone.” The one who was sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” Revelation 21