Holy week is so busy! First, Jesus rides into Jerusalem. People are singing and shouting, surrounding him — an introvert’s nightmare. Then he flips tables and empties out the temple. He’s betrayed. He gives thanks even in the presence of His betrayer. The first communion takes place, with Jesus sharing wine and bread among his disciples. Next Jesus is captured. He is scrutinized and condemned, taken before leaders, prodded up before multitudes. He is stripped and scourged, hung and nailed through. Lastly, Jesus is forsaken, bleeding, dying, and buried. Whew.

Job 30:26

But when I hoped for good, evil came,
and when I waited for light, darkness came.

Now what?

The time between death and resurrection feels so dark, so empty, so long. What is happening in this day between Friday and Sunday? What are we to do as we sit outside the tomb? And what is our Lord doing in the darkness—the cold grips of death?

We have all experienced waiting. Most recently, many of us have sat in our homes wondering when life will begin to feel normal again. We are longing, yearning, and begging for hope. But darkness and grief are overwhelming. Hope is illusive. The disciples felt much of the same.

Hope is defined as a longing, a desire. Hope anticipates something good is coming. It is defined by trust and expectation. But Scripture adds a nuance, entwining hope with faith.

A quick search of the word hope shows 164 places in the ESV Bible where the word is directly mentioned—and even more frequently alluded to. Then, adding faith to hope limits the results to just 13. One of the most popular of these verses is Hebrews 11:1. “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for.” Assurance.

Faith is the guarantee of hope.

Where is our hope?

On Saturday the busyness of Holy Week comes to a halt—like many of our lives. The tomb is closed. The Guarantor of hope is lying lifeless in a dark cave. We’re left in lonely isolation and hope seems lost. What is God doing?

But remember, where is our hope? In the Lord. How do we know we can hope in him? Our faith—a faith that reaches back for generations and generations. This faith is rooted in all things. The sun sets and rises. Winter is followed by spring. Death is followed by life. This faith can be trusted… right?

Who gave us this faith? Paul plainly tells us that faith is assigned by God (Romans 12:3). It is a gift through which the gift of grace can work! Are you wondering if he has abandoned us? Again, the disciples felt much of the same.

Hope in the Waiting

So, what do we do with our faith and hope when we seem to be stuck in the waiting? Imagine the disciples anxiety on the long, dark Saturday between death and resurrection. What could they do?

We must simply wait. The darkness is so heavy and the grief so thick that there is nothing to do but sit. Wait. Groan. Wonder. Weep.

He is coming.

Job 17:15

Where then is my hope?
Who will see my hope?


Melissa Joy, author of this article, seeks to grow in grace and wisdom alongside her husband Steven (Olive Tree’s President). You can read more of her writing at Joyful Domesticity.

12 Comments

  1. Andrew Osakue Reply

    Our hope is different and rock steady because we know and believe he rose. Our hope is sure because the LORD’S resurrection is that blessed hope and truth on which our CHRISTIAN Faith stands.
    What joy to know that the first born from the dead is alive for ever having dealt an eternal blow to that much dreaded death by removing it’s sting. HALELUJAH.
    What a sacrifice ? The most thankful aspect of it all is that He died in my stead.
    The Satirday between the death, burial and resurrection gives us time to consider and meditate on the love of God.

  2. Elizabeth Human Reply

    So beautifully written. Stirred my heart. I would like to see more from Mellisa Joy.
    Love in Christ,
    Liz

    • David Schopp Reply

      Great article, only one problem. The author uses Ephesians 2:8 and writes that the gift is faith. However that is an error in understanding. The gift that the Apostle Paul writes about is salvation by grace. In fact, Paul clearly states this in Ephesians 3:7, “Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.”

      • Michael Potter Reply

        David, good catch! I took another look and tweaked it. Thank you for pointing that out. Let me know what you think 🙂

  3. I can only imagine what people back then thought when Jesus died and was put in that tomb. Having been with Him for the 3 years of ministry, experiencing His Love and Grace day after day, only to have Him taken so cruelly from their midst, beaten severely, nailed to the Cross, all without just cause… and then watch as our LORD is wrapped in burial cloth, put in a tomb and the stone rolled over the entrance. Surely the people must have thought, “We’ll Never see Him again!” What a GREAT Joy it was when they all found that they were WRONG!

    As I sought the Lord and read the Word this morning I was led to Lev. 20:26 – “And you shall be holy unto Me: for I the Lord am holy and have severed you from other people that you should be Mine.” KJV

    This reminded me of the tabernacle in the wilderness, how the Lord’s presence filled it and no one could enter. It reminded me of the pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night to show God’s continual presence in the midst of His special, separated people… DAY and NIGHT, Always, being with them, Never leaving them alone even for a moment. It reminds me now of, “Our body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit, which we Have from the Lord.” God’s presence IS with us day and night also. There are times when I forget that. I feel alone, forsaken, but He reminds me, He said, “I will Never leave you nor will I Ever for sake you.” What a Great God we serve.

    Remember the 2 disciples on the road to Emmaus? They were SO hurt and felt such a Great loss. Then… Jesus appeared to them as the stranger. After revealing Himself to them they were astonished and then Filled with Great Joy. Thank You Jesus for Your Word and the Holy Spirit Who reveals God’ Truth to us.

    Thanks be to God Who gives us the Victory Through our Lord Jesus Christ.

  4. William Morrison Reply

    That is one of the best Easter messages I have ever read! Hope gone on Saturday. I have been in similar circumstances where nothing made sense anymore, and what I relied on was totally gone. Little did they remember that He would be back so soon! May I remember that even when I think that my hope is gone, my Jesus is not! Thank you, my sister in Christ, for minding The Lord and writing that.

  5. Nicholas U Reply

    What to do when you can’t see physically? See spiritually! Faith is not based on what you see physically. Hope as you rightly mentioned is expectation but faith is assurance. How do I get my assurance? By BELIEVING that what God has said in His Word about my circumstance! Confidence that the thing that I may not be able to physically see now is more real than the situation that is hovering around my five physical senses. You see, when he gave up the Ghost he was not lying in the tomb dead and helpless, he was carrying out the whole reason for going to the cross…stripping the keys of death and hell from the hands of my fiercest enemy! (Revelations 1:18), Ephesians 4:8-10). So though I am outside the tomb I am not mourning, no! I am rejoicing! Because he will not remain in the tomb! I am not wringing my hands in despair! He has promised he would be out! (John 2:19). My faith means I am assured in spite of the happenings around me that what he said he would do he will actually do them! So I am walking, living, thinking, acting by faith and not by sight. Because what I can see is subject to change but what I cannot see, that God who cannot be seen has promised, abides forever! (2 Corinthians 5:7; 2 Corinthans 4:18). This is my Hope, This is my Faith. This is my victory in the face of any battle and any tribulation that life might bring my way! 1 John 5:4; John 16:33.

  6. The message written on the dark side of the tume stone is not as it appears on the outside, where guards are commanded to protect the truth from getting out. Dreams crushed, hope lost, promises broken, it is not as it seems. For on the unseen side of the garded tumb is the promised victory over death, hell, and the grave. Our hope is not in what we can see, but what is truth! Truth is not bound by the grave clothes of death or surrendered to the will of human government or religious systems. If we can see with the eyes of faith He is taking the keys back from saten and releasing the captive from the grip of hell,before resurrection day.now we to can live in His victory by a faith. This is the message from the other side of the stone that rolled away.

  7. This was lovely, especially the ending. Thank you for sharing this.

  8. It is so encouraging to see some of you piping up with your own interjections of hope, faith, seeing the Lord Jesus at work even in the darkness. Thanks be to God! Thank you for sharing your own insights into the darkness of that Saturday, and yes, what a particular joy it is to be on *this side* of the Resurrection, so that we know in retrospect what was happening on that Saturday long ago, even though His followers at the time did not have their eyes opened to it.
    For my own follow up on the Light that shines forth from the darkness of the tomb, follow me here:
    http://joyfuldomesticity.com/?p=2882
    And may the peace of the Risen Lord be with you!

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