Friday, April 13, 2012

What Is Good About Good Friday?

I know Easter was almost a week ago.  However, there have been thoughts and emotions I have been chewing on. That and finding the time to be able to write.

I went to Good Friday Service last Friday. I almost didn't go because we had just returned home from a family vacation. I was exhausted with a lot of laundry to do and a little girls third birthday party to prepare for the next day.

But I went.

And as I listened to His journey being recounted, I grew heavy. The day of his crucifixion has never affected me like that before. He suffered so. And to add insult to injury, he was mocked, He was laughed at, He was spit upon.

I wonder, if I would have been there, who would I have been? What would I have done?

I grew heavy but in that heaviness I was also comforted. I know my suffering cannot compare and I'm not trying to but I am at peace knowing that my King has compassion and sympathy because He knows! He really knows what it's like to grieve and to mourn and to hurt.

He spoke words, that were recounted during that Good Friday Service, that resonated with me.

"Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"
"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Matthew 27:46

Those words, that statement, begged a question from me, Where's the good in Good Friday?

Whenever I read that in the past I always imagined that He yelled it in a loud voice. Letting His statement be heard throughout. 

Now, I envision that those words were almost breathless. Too full of despair to put much energy into them but still feeling a need to voice the question . . . the pain.

I felt that despair in that delivery room. In a room that usually brings so much joy, I felt utter despair and that God had abandoned me. 

The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, "He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One" (Luke 23:35).

I wonder how much restraint that required of Him. If that was me, I would have wanted to prove that they were wrong. That Christ was who He said He was. 

This is the thing that struck me last Friday. He could have removed Himself from that cross. He could have done it. 

There would have been no argument then, once he hurled himself from the cross, about who He was. I'm sure all standing around would have believed.

But He didn't.

What is good about Good Friday?

I remember asking for a miracle. There was never a question of whether I believed He could perform one. 

But He didn't perform the one I had asked. 

I don't know why.

He could have healed Lazarus before death staked claim over his body.

But He didn't.

Death thought it won a victory and then Jesus came and performed a miracle that no one had asked. No one could have imagined! Lazarus walked out of that tomb.

"Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?" (John 11:40)

I do know why He didn't remove himself from the cross that day.

He hung there in order to save all.

That's the Good in Good Friday. 

That was the miracle He was performing. 

No one could have even dreamed the request to hang and suffer in order to save souls.

He could have removed Himself from that cross.

But He didn't. He didn't because He knew there was greater glory in the suffering.

The Good was in the suffering. It was in the anguish. The Good was there the whole time because the ugly had to come to make way for the glory.

Glory came three days later. The tomb stood empty.

There was purpose in the pain. 

The suffering was redeemed. 

The cross where suffering bore witness and the tomb that stands empty gives me peace. 

I believe that all pain . . . even my pain . . . has a purpose. 

I believe it will be redeemed. My God is a God who takes what others throw away and dismiss and He redeems it. He makes it beautiful. He has a purpose. 


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