I woke up on the Saturday before Easter feeling heavy. The past week has been incredibly hard. Between my own hurting heart, and the hurting around me, I just felt physically and spiritually tired.
The day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday is known as Holy Saturday. It’s the day that sits between Jesus dying and the day He rose from the dead. I imagine all who believed in Jesus must have felt pretty tired on that day so many years ago. Jesus had just died. His resurrection was already promised, but it hadn’t happened yet.
I feel like the idea of “already but not yet” is something I can apply to so many situations in my life. So many things have been promised – I believe they are mine already – but they have not happened… yet. For me, “already but not yet” is often a feeling full of expectation and doubt all wrapped up in one confusing package. I am so expectant of what has already been promised, but it is also so easy for me to begin to think I heard wrong. Maybe that promise isn’t really coming.
Easter is such a huge day for Christians. It’s a day that we celebrate Jesus defeating death and walking out of that tomb. It’s about victory. However, how many of us celebrate for one day, but do not walk in victory? How many of us post pictures or scriptures on social media with “#heisrisen” in the comments, but quickly forget what that means? How many of us go to church and lift our hands and celebrate that our Jesus defeated death, but still walk around defeated? How many of us nod in agreement or say “amen” as the Pastor talks about the hope that can be found in Jesus, but never rest in that hope when we really need it?
If I am being completely honest, this year I feel like I went through the emotions of Easter Sunday, while still living in Saturday. I have been functioning in a place of optimism but not hope for the promises God has given me. What’s the difference? Optimism is defined as “a feeling that good things will happen”, while hope is defined as “a strong and confident expectation”. Did you catch the difference? Optimism is a feeling that maybe something good will happen and my promises will be fulfilled. Hope is confidence without any doubt that God will come through and He will fulfill His promises.
Friends, Easter isn’t meant to be a one day celebration. The empty tomb stands as a reminder that we can have hope in restoration, in reconciliation and in healing EVERY DAY. Hope that no matter our circumstances, that God has a plan to redeem our lives. That hope is a hope that will sustain us through the “already but not yet”.
Psalm 27:13-14 says this in the Passion Translation:
Yet I totally trust you to rescue me one more time, so that I can see once again how good you are while I’m still alive! Here’s what I’ve learned through it all: Don’t give up; don’t be impatient; be entwined as one with the Lord. Be brave and courageous, and never lose hope. Yes, keep on waiting—for he will never disappoint you!
Today if you are somewhere between “already but not yet” I encourage you to come sit with me by His empty tomb. Let that empty tomb remind you that God is going to come through for you! I encourage you not to just be optimistic that God is going to come through for you, I encourage you to be truly expectant. The story doesn’t end with death. The story ends with restoration, reconciliation and healing. Don’t let Easter be a one day celebration.