Yesterday was a very stressful day. I started at 5am to be on the road by 6 for New Braunfels. Then I had an 8am meeting with Kens 5 followed by a 2-hour family meeting to make decisions ranging from what to do with the house to what we’ll do with mom and dad’s ashes.
We met with the expert who set up my parent’s annuities and living trust to understand what the upcoming process will look like. A brief stop for lunch only to begin the room-by-room discussion of who is taking what and what is being sold or donated.
Fortunately we made it through the entire house with only a few bruised feelings but that process went on long enough that I wasn’t able to shoot up to Austin for my workout. Instead the fourteen of us went to Montana Mikes, since that was our family restaurant, and ate way too much food. (Because, what better way to replace a workout than eating ridiculous amounts of unhealthy food?)
By the time I was back in Austin, about midnight, I barely paused to change clothes before dropping into bed. The day had been productive but I was disappointed to have missed my church’s Good Friday service. One of my anchors in this storm has been my church family so I have driven to Austin every chance I have to be with them.
Since I missed the service, I took some time to think about Good Friday and what it really means. To make it personal… how did the disciples feel on that Friday night as they fell asleep?
Imagine being one of the 12… Imagine being Peter. About 3 years ago, you were out fishing and a rabbi calls you to follow. You, an uneducated fisherman, had been selected by a rabbi? You left everything and followed, developing a brotherhood and friendship with this man who spoke like no one you’ve ever heard before.
He spoke of the Kingdom of God like he’d already seen it and you shared many nights laying out on the grass and looking at the stars. He was wiser and kinder than anyone you could imagine. One day he asked, “Who do you say I am?” You declared confidently that he is the Messiah.
Then your friend began to make strange comments; he said he must suffer and die for crimes he never committed. A member of your brotherhood cut deep with betrayal and delivered your rabbi into the hands of religious elite. They had him unjustly tried, beaten, and hung on a cross to die while you, fearing for your life, denied you even knew him.
Everything you thought you knew and understood about the future and what your life was to look like was shattered. Peter’s hopes and dreams were crushed and he was left with a dread that he would be killed as well. Now try sleeping that night. Not such a “Good Friday” after all, huh?
Peter had tried to rescue Jesus by cutting off a man’s ear … clearly he didn’t understand the plan for Jesus’ death and resurrection. Alone and brokenhearted, bearing the weight of denying his Rabbi, Peter searched for answers in a new reality that didn’t make sense.
I feel for Peter more today than I ever could have before. Like Peter, I had dreams of what I believed my future held that will never be reality. My world has been flipped upside down twice in the last two weeks and, at the ripe old age of 29, I am now an orphan.
Fortunately for me, I have something Peter didn’t have; I have the rest of the story. Where Peter most likely slept that night with hopelessness and fear, my grief has been woven beautifully with the confidence and joy that I will see my parents again. I know without doubt that God is up to something in me and through this trial. The pain is there: I wanted dad to walk me down the aisle and I wanted mom to be there to welcome her grandchildren one day.
But I know my parents ran their race well and I know that they are now celebrating in heaven with the Lord. Difficult as it has been to plan a memorial in four days, we wanted it to be today because our hope in mom’s death is the resurrection we will celebrate tomorrow.
Good Friday didn’t get its name because we are glad for the torture and brutal killing of an innocent man. We celebrate Good Friday because it is followed by Easter Sunday and Jesus didn’t stay dead.
Saturday is dark and lonely.
But Sunday is on the way.