There’s something about the week hours of the night on Easter weekend that has always haunted me. During most of the hours between the services we offer for Good Friday and Easter Sunday, there is plenty of noise and activity to keep the average human distracted. And even if I am careful to set aside time for reflection, there are three other people in this household with needs and schedules to balance. But when we’ve all settled in for the night and the house grows quiet, there is a stillness and searching that is different from most nights.
Except the night that the hubs was driving home from a conference and I woke up in the wee hours to the distinct realization that he wasn’t home hours after he should have been. I checked my cell and the land line- no missed calls. Every moment without a call, without a knock on the door or the familiar sound of the garage door going up had my heart wondering how I would move forward without the man I’d come to love and to count on.
Except for the nights the kid was in the hospital, so depressed that life didn’t seem valuable enough to fight for. The door to the facility locked behind us as we left him. Not knowing whether there were words enough in the world to bring life and love back into those beautiful blue eyes.
Except for the rare nights I believe the lies that tell me that God’s grace isn’t enough. The lies that tell me that God has no use for a woman who made the choices I made in my youth. The lies that say I must pay for those choices now.
On those nights and on the nights of this holy weekend each year, I feel keenly the truth that God has endured all the pain that we feel on Earth and more. I trust that in Christ, God experienced the temptations we face, the pain of true separation from God’s love and the frustration of desiring more from these earthen vessels than we can give back to God.
In the wee hours of those hardest nights, I want speed up time or sleep through it, to jump ahead to the good stuff that follows hard times. Perhaps the most damaging lie that comes in those moments is that God has abandoned me (us). But isn’t that the very reason Jesus, our Christ, cried out “why have you forsaken me?”… so that we would never have to?
Oh, what it must have taken for the God who spoke the cosmos into being to hold back on Good Friday and the sabbath day that followed. To allow what needed to happen, to happen. In real time.
What wondrous love.