“Why do we call it Good Friday, mommy? I mean, it’s really sad what happened so I don’t see how it’s good.”
I understand. I thought the same thing when I was his age. And I am going to go ahead and admit that for a long time, I thought we called it Good Friday because we didn’t have school that day. When I explained to Josiah why we call it Good Friday, he said “Oh, I get it. Sort of. Like, it’s sad because it was awful but also it’s good. It’s pretty much a truth mystery.”
Sometimes my child is much more wise than me.
When I was his age, I honestly didn’t think much about the bible. To me, church was a social place, a place you go on Sundays and maybe Wednesdays. I knew all the stories, the paper cut-outs stuck on felt boards, and I could sing about how I knew that Jesus loved me and all the other little children. The bible was a collection of stories, no more important to me than my collection of coloring books or Cabbage Patch Kid. My favorite story then was Moses leading the people out of Egypt, and Pharoah and his armies being swallowed up by the sea. I think the justice of that appealed to me, as I was already aware of the injustice of the world, and the idea that someday God might even the stakes a bit for me was appealing. As I grew into a teenager, while I had “accepted Christ”, I still felt like the day was coming when He would make up for all the losses I had experienced. And the longer I lived without seeing things be made right, the more confused and angry I got. Where was the fairness?
How could He possibly love everyone the same? How could He really have died for everyone? Would you offer your child to die instead of the convicted murderer? Would you eat your last meal with someone you knew was going to claim to love you but betray you instead? It’s a truth mystery that…
The woman who screamed at her family last night…you are loved.
The girl who wore a long-sleeved shirt in the warm weather to cover up where she cuts…you are loved.
The man who is stealing from his company…you are loved.
The woman who is proud that she hasn’t eaten in four days…you are loved.
The mom who has despised her child this week…you are loved.
The man who stole from others to pay for his addictions…you are loved.
The woman who cried last night over a cold passionless marriage…you are loved.
The boy who gave his girlfriend money for the abortion…you are loved.
The man who served and taught others about Jesus, then went home and surfed for porn…you are loved.
The woman cheating on her husband today…you are loved.
The girl giving her body away for just a moment of attention…you are loved.
The man who took that body and used it for his pleasure…you are loved.
The man who hates those with a different skin color…you are loved.
The woman who is reading this and believes God likes you more because you haven’t done any of these things…you are loved.
The boy who has thought about the gun in his father’s office this week…you are loved.
The man who has hurt a child…you are loved.
The boy who cried last night because he’s attracted to a boy in his class…you are loved.
The mom who feels like she’s failing at every turn…you are loved.
The man who just got that diagnosis…you are loved.
The woman who looks back at her life and feels nothing but shame and regret…you are loved.
The dad who abandons his family this week…you are loved.
The man who thinks believing in God is weak and small minded…you are loved.
The mom that secretly wishes she never had kids…you are loved.
The girl who has written that suicide note in her head a hundred times…you are loved.
The person who reads these words and feels rage because you feel anything but loved…you are loved.
All that time, I was watching and waiting for Him to bring justice to my world, missing the fact that He already did. And in the courtroom of all time, I had cast myself as the innocent party, the persecuted Israelite waiting for justice, and missed that I was the guilty party. There had to be justice but the justice needed was for MY sin. When I realize that I deserved the ocean’s swallow, I deserved the cross, but He took it for me- I’m astounded and I scramble to try to make it up to Him, by being “good” or devoted or all of the other human measurements of worth. I’m uncomfortable with grace, I don’t understand it. It seems reckless and irresponsible. It feels impossible. It’s a truth mystery…
I don’t get it. But I’m okay with it being a mystery.
Because while it’s His justice and sacrifice that saves me, it’s His grace and love that sustains me. He doesn’t just stitch me up, He heals me. He doesn’t just correct, He comforts. He doesn’t just forgive, He restores. His power gives me breath, but His goodness makes me want to breathe. His actions then compel me to consider Him, but His actions today compel to love Him.
“Good” can’t contain all that Friday is. Easter wrecks my heart, messes up my categories and continues to remind me of why I want to follow Him. I pray that I will always remember what He’s done. I pray you do too.