Pausing Before the Resurrection
by Melissa Schiffbauer | 12 April 2020 |
I read an interesting article by Max Lucado this year for Easter, titled “The Silence of Saturday.” Naturally, being the good Adventist gal that I am, the title was quick to spark my interest. Lucado, who is one of my favorite authors, did not disappoint.
The message in his article was clear: patiently rely on God. He pointed out that the Christian community often dwells on services during Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday, but forgets to take note of what Jesus did on Saturday: Lie still. Stay silent. Trust God.
Today as I write this piece, I can’t help but apply Lucado’s principles of resurrection weekend to our own Adventist faith journey. Right now amid COVID-19 everyone is in a prophetic frenzy. Articles and memes about prophecy, conspiracies, rapture, and the Holy Spirit are popping up left and right. Among the Seventh-day Adventist community, we are in a mad dash to “make” End Times show up tomorrow. The pope did this, the Vatican did that. Everyone is in a rush to share with an urgency that something is coming.
Although I agree that something is coming, I also believe we must not get ahead of ourselves. Since before I was born, we have impatiently demanded that the Sunday law is right around the corner—yet Jesus is still not here. He is waiting.
In the years, months, and even days prior to Jesus’s death there were many moments when Jesus explained very clearly to the disciples that he was going to be killed. They still missed it. We see several very straightforward Bible texts where Jesus says that he will die and in three days rise again. The disciples hear him say this, but they don’t really listen. They are focused on making him king and getting to the good stuff—you know, the part about the New Jerusalem and their being rulers. That is what they cared about. Because of their failure to take things as Jesus revealed them, they were left lost and confused as they gazed up at Christ on the cross. They had so much time to understand clearly what was coming, but they were so focused on the future they forgot to live in the present.
As we remember Christ’s life, his precious death, and his promise to return to us after his resurrection, we must be cautious not to make the same mistakes that were made before us. We must not rush through the Bible, only choosing to hear but not really listen. We must not rush through sharing the gospel only worried about “saving” our fellow brothers and sisters, without noticing their current grief and pain. Adventists are notorious for upholding their knowledge of Bible prophecy—but at what cost? Prophecy is only one piece of the picture. Christ has given us this time to process everything he has revealed to us. He is giving us a moment to ponder.
Jesus’s death and resurrection was a three-day process. Our spiritual journeys are also a process—something meant to be embraced moment by moment. We should not be so focused on our future that we forget to embrace what God is teaching us today. Much like Christ taking a moment to pause on the Saturday after his death, we too must take a moment to pause amid the chaos of our world and return to the basics of what we believe in. What is it that we are missing in scripture at this moment? What obvious truths has Jesus shown us that we have neglected to recognize? What agendas are we pushing based on misguided information?
Jesus has risen and will return to us. In the meantime, let us also look at this very minute, hour, and day, asking God to help us see it for what it is: an opportunity to love our people, strengthen our knowledge of scripture, and allow the Holy Spirit to reveal new things to us. Christ’s gift of salvation is priceless and not to be rushed past. What ministry has God called you into while we wait? When the world is scared of COVID-19, economic crises, and whatever else may come our way let us keep in mind the words of Matthew 28:19-20, “…surely I am with you always until the end of the world.”
Melissa Young is a Christian blogger, and author of the book, The One Who Stayed, an Amazon exclusive book that outlines how young adults can find purpose and value in churches today. When she isn’t writing, she works as a training advisor for corporate training company Dale Carnegie. In her free time, she enjoys figure skating, hiking, and swimming. She resides in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband, Braxton. She blogs at https://www.thebiblegirl.com/.