What’s so Good About Good Friday?
Even as the tension rises from my shoulders, into my neck, finally landing in my head, I am distracted by what is coming. Worry and anxiety are far from me, but my body will still respond to what’s happening in my heart. Some things just can’t be avoided.
For Christians, this weekend holds anticipation for a celebration on Sunday. But the anticipation associated with Easter Sunday doesn’t usually involve stress or discomfort, it involves planning and excitement. Buy the ham, delegate the side dishes, pick up the patent leather shoes for the girls and dig that sundress out of the back of your closet.
Sunday is coming and what a great day it will be!
But this Easter season feels different for me.
Last year I watched as my mom sat on my back porch, watching her grandchildren chase after our neighbor’s rabbit that was lose in our yard. I watched her in her long pants and long sleeves sit quietly in the sun, soaking up the warmth on an already toasty day. She was particularly quiet and I wondered then if she somehow knew this could be her last Easter Sunday with her family.
Leading up to this weekend, I feel the physical pain of tension and the ache of a heart with a hole in it.
Maybe you do too. Maybe this is your first holiday without a loved one. Perhaps you sense it could also be your last.
I heard someone ask the question this weekend “why does God allow suffering?” That’s a deep question. There are many deep answers. I like the response I heard on this particular day. “Everything we experience here on earth is getting us fit for heaven.”
This is why we can’t forget the Friday. The hill. The cross. The suffering that took place before Jesus rose Himself up from death.
How can we appreciate the pain Jesus endured if we don’t experience just a pinch of it here on earth? How else can we identify with His suffering but to experience a little of it ourselves?
And this not because He wants us to hurt as He did, but because until we experience labor pains personally, we can only have a partial understanding of what it is to endure those contractions. And we can only experience a portion of the joy of what comes on the other side of those pains if we have walked along our own road of suffering.
If Jesus hadn’t endured His time on the cross and breathed His last, there would be no resurrection.
And if I never experienced the pain of loss, I would never look to the cross for hope and assurance that I will see mom again.
So on this Good Friday, as I look to the hilltop in Golgotha, I see hope. I see the suffering that was necessary for eternity. I see my mom living her best life behind that cross. A life that holds no more suffering for her. No more wondering what her future holds. No more worry about her family or her health.
And if I squint my eyes and tilt my head just right, I can see behind that cross my own eternity.
But to catch that glimpse of hope, I must first look at the cross, feel the necessary pain that took place there, and offer my gratitude in the way of my own life.
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
We cannot see the hope of eternity if we avoid the cross.
It’s there that we begin to understand just what it took for Christ to offer us hope for our future.
And that my friend, is why Friday is so good.