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encouragement from steve wise

Saturday, April 11 2020

Dear friends, 

It’s late in the afternoon on Saturday before Easter. I feel the sadness of not being able to gather to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus together because of our “stay-at-home” order. On the Saturday after Jesus’ crucifixion, Jesus’ disciples had placed themselves under a similar order. Hiding behind barred doors and haunted by their own failures, they must have felt the ‘darkness’ in their own souls.    

I wonder why Jesus would he leave his disciples hanging for this long. Why didn’t He rise again on Saturday morning? What made 48 hours better than 24? Or 2 days better than 1? Or 2 sleepless nights preferable to 1 bad night’s sleep?

But would that have made it any easier? Would it have not been so difficult if it were only the worst day of their lives and not the worst two days of their lives? Of course, they did not know they would face more days like this. But the news of the next day would change how they would respond.  

Here’s my hunch – Jesus was teaching them that the only way to go through something is to go through it. Not incredibly profound but absolutely true. They experienced the joy of Easter by going through the sorrow of Saturday. The bright light of Sunday could only follow the darkness of that Sabbath. For them, the strength to stand the furnace of persecution must be forged in the fire of the hopeless waiting of those 48 hours. 

Jesus’ ½ brother, James, may have had this day in mind when he opens his letter to fellow believers, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance (hupomone). And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4). Even as Jesus lay in the tomb those many hours, He was at work in the lives of His disciples strengthening their faith.

So we feel the ‘darkness’ of this holy Saturday in ways we may never have before and hope never to again. Personal things along with international pandemics leave us feeling locked away in fear. But it is in the midst of this that Jesus is doing something in us that can only be done in us here. He does not cause it but He will not waste it! Let us pray that we will not miss it!

  • Worship tomorrow at 9:30 via livestream - https://wpcspartanburg.org/live - dress up, honor your family traditions, celebrate the Resurrection!
  • A couple of opportunities to interact and engage via Zoom calls
    • Community Prayer - Wednesdays at 12:30 PM
    • Wednesday PM Community Study - 6:30 PM - When God Interrupts. - We'll look at stories in Scripture where God "messes up" our plans...in order for us to see His plans. 
    • Sunday School - 11:00 AM - Starting April 19. We'll take some time to dive in together and share post-sermon reflections and study each week's passage more deeply.
    • (Zoom links can be found on the Realm and email blast.)

Finally, for your viewing pleasure and your soul – perhaps may favorite song of all - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jR6jVbCdgxI

Your friend

Steve Wise

Posted by: Steve AT 03:11 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email

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