Have you ever noticed, in the jam-packed lineup of the Holy Week calendar, that there’s no special name for Saturday? We have Palm Sunday in all its hosanna-ed fanfare, Maundy Thursday with its perfume-pouring and betrayal, Good Friday with its heart-rending crucifixion, and of course Easter Sunday in all its glory.
But tucked in between the tragedy and the triumph is that lonely Saturday. A day of silence.
According to the Jewish calendar, it would have been a day of rest. But I can hardly believe it was anything close to restful for Jesus’ followers. Their whole world had been shattered. The One they thought would save them and set them free was in a grave, silent. And God seemed silent too.
What do you do when everything you’ve staked your life on implodes in the span of an afternoon?
How do you keep going when it seems like your hopes have all gone up in flames?
How do you put one foot in front of the other between Friday and Sunday?
Almost exactly one year ago, I found myself in a season of Good Fridays. Daniel and I had gotten a scary 20-week ultrasound, and the remainder of the pregnancy loomed before us like a never-ending waiting room. Would our baby be okay? Would I have the fortitude to make it through the next trimester and a half? Spring was emerging all around me, but there was no room in my soul for bonnets and white lilies.
Then on Saturday of holy week, when I was lying in bed, I felt it for the first time—our baby’s kick.
The timing seemed providential somehow. Daniel and I were stuck between the bad news of our own Good Friday and the miracle we believed was coming (whether that miracle was the variety we were hoping for or not). We believed God was going to do something good, but in that silent period of waiting, it was hard to see what Sunday would look like.
Perhaps that’s why that moment felt so sacred. As those tiny feet fluttered just under my ribs, it seemed like a glimpse of resurrection. Our vigil wasn’t over; it wasn’t Easter yet. But in that divine belly-whisper, God was promising that he hadn’t forgotten us, that he hadn’t abandoned us. Even in the waiting. Even in the silence.
That first kick felt like a rogue arrow of hope, coming as it did on that Waiting Saturday. It was a promise of new life, a glimmer of hope that Sunday would come.
Because you know what? Sunday always comes. As dark as your Friday may be, as silent as your Saturday may be, God is at work, preparing a Sunday beyond your wildest imagining.
I don’t know what Saturday you are in right now. Maybe resurrection seems unbearably far away. Maybe it seems like it won’t come at all.
But God is at work, even in the apparent silence.
Father in heaven . . . even when you are silent, you still speak to us, in order to examine us, to try us, and so that the hour of our understanding may be more profound. Oh, in the time of silence, when I remain alone and abandoned because I do not hear your voice, it seems as if the separation must last forever. Father in heaven! It is only a moment of silence in the intimacy of a conversation. Bless then this silence, and let me not forget that you are silent through love, and that you speak through love, so that in your silence and in your word you are still the same Father, and that you guide and instruct even by your silence.
If you find yourself stuck in a seemingly never-ending Saturday, take courage and remember: Sunday comes. Sunday always comes.