Every year around Easter we talk about Jesus’s death and resurrection. We know that on the first day, Jesus died a brutal, painful death to bring us forgiveness from sin. We know that on the third day, He rose from the grave to bring us new life.
Day one. Day three. What about the second day? We spend a lot of time talking about the first and third days, but I rarely hear anyone talk about the second day. Is it because not much is written about it? Is it because it seems to pale in importance when contrasted to the world changing events book ending it?
If we call the first day “The Day of Death,” and the third day “The Day of Resurrection,” then I would call the second day, “The Day of Waiting.”
The Day of Waiting. That’s what the second day was and I want to take a second and invite you to imagine it with me. Imagine the disciples who have sat at His feet, spent countless hours listening to Him speak, watched Him perform unexplainable miracles, felt firsthand the weight of His divine revelation, eaten many meals with Him, and finally, witnessed His death.
Their friend, brother, and teacher, was brutally murdered by their own people and they watched it. Jesus died on that first day and I imagine that a piece of the disciples’ hearts died as well. This is the man of whom they say in Luke 24, verse 21, “we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel.” All their hope was in Jesus and He died.
They had no idea what to do. They knew He said He would rise on the third day, but could they really believe that?
There were tears, massive wails, and cries to the Lord. “I don’t understand.” “Why have you left us?” “Where are you?” “Why have you allowed this pain?” Mary, mother of Jesus and James, probably tended her work with blurry eyes, and maybe she screamed into her shaking hands. The disciples might have wandered around, only technically awake, trying and failing to find solace in each other’s empty words.
This is the Day of Waiting and it is marked with pain, doubt, and fear. Those close to Jesus wished it over as soon as possible, that God might wipe away their suffering, but in this day God was preparing them for His resurrection. God could have risen the very night He was interned and saved them from the pain of waiting, but He didn’t. The plan from the very beginning was that He would rise on the third day, and no sooner.
This day of waiting is all too familiar. Something horrible happens and we wait for the healing and resolution. An opportunity rises and we wait for the calling and provision. A question is asked and we wait for the answer and solution. We are a people who like conclusion. Loose ends and threads don’t fit well into our plans and understanding. God sees the world like a passing parade and He has a bird’s eye view, while we only see through a hole in a fence.
In the times of waiting, it is such a natural response to ask God to take away the pain and bring the conclusion. I’m sure the disciples did on this second day, but, more often than not, that simply is not God’s plan. It seems cruel. If God could heal me right now, why doesn’t He? If He really loved us, why would He let us suffer?
These questions never disappear and suffering rarely makes much sense, but it always has the potential to foster growth. Sometimes God allow us to walk through pain because it develops something within ourselves that is needed to advance His Kingdom. Sometimes he requires us to wait for the solution because time is needed to illuminate some of the hardest parts of our heart. Some of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned about life, myself, and who God is have come through incredibly painful seasons of waiting.
Even still, I find myself asking, “couldn’t you have taught me this without all the pain?” The answer I come to is almost always “no.” There are things I have learned through pain and my decision to wait on the Lord, that I firmly believe I could not have learned any other way.
Sometimes the worst thing to hear someone say when you’re enduring hardship is, “God has a plan.” But as a Christ follower, you have to believe that’s true. He has said it over and over again. Jeremiah 29:11, “for I know the plans I have for you” or Proverbs 16:4, “the Lord works out everything to its proper end.”
Most people are able to come to terms with this fact, so the hang up becomes the timing. WHEN is God going to come through with healing, restoration, revelation, provision? I know he CAN do it, but why is it taking so long and why does it have to hurt so badly?
2 Peter 3:9 says, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” This word repentance implies a changing of ways. That is the key.
Sometimes God allows suffering to continue because He is giving us time to change the way we think or act. Nothing brings us to our knees like suffering, the Lord knows this. Sometimes suffering is exactly the environment God uses to shine a light on the things of our heart that are not yet straight. He would rather see you suffer and receive necessary transformation, than to see you perish in your old ways.
And catch this, the verse says, “He is patient with you.” Often we think of ourselves as the patient ones. After all, we are the ones who have to wait on the Lord to bring about His will. But the reality is, God waits on us to yield our hearts to him in order that He can change our thoughts and rebuild our hearts. The Lord is patient and He will wait as long as He must to allow us to experience transformation.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the second day, the Day of Waiting, fell on the Sabbath day. Suffering can be excruciating. Sometimes the tears flow and the cries rise and relief seems far away, yet God is calling you all the while to rest. He’s drawing you near to Himself, to the quiet place, to speak to you.
Maybe the painful waiting is His way of telling you He’s not finished with you yet. Maybe He’s calling you to more. Maybe He’s patiently waiting for you to meet Him, so He can speak to your heart.
By: Victoria Rinear