It is finished.
Today, Good Friday, marks the day for Christians that Christ died on the cross for us and for our sins. But today I have been thinking a lot about why it is called “good.” How could something so heartbreaking and excruciating as Jesus dying on the cross be good?
Derick and I have been talking a lot, coincidentally, over the past couple days about suffering and it’s purpose. We mulled over why we experience suffering, why bad things happen to good people, is there a point to it all, and I came back to the same conclusion every time. There is beauty in suffering and there is purpose in suffering, even if we don’t see it in the moment. So often we are too close to the suffering, too in the moment to realize why we are experiencing it. There will always be suffering as a result of our sin and imperfect world, but God is with us through it all, and has a plan for beauty and purpose to come from it, whether it is minutes after it or years after it. That has always been my experience, although I can hardly compare any discomfort I’ve had in my life to any of those who truly suffer around the world. There has not been one experience of suffering or sadness or weakness in my life that hasn’t taught me something or made me a better person, even if I don’t want to admit it or might still wish that I was never put in that situation to begin with.
Early this morning, at about 1 AM, I woke up to my husband bent over with pain in our bed. He was exhausted since he hadn’t slept a wink because of it, and it continued to get worse as the hours passed with no relief. We decided to not risk waiting in case it was something serious and went to the ER to see if someone could figure out what was going on and to hopefully get him some relief. As we waited there a whole host of questions ran through my mind, and when you’re making a visit to the ER you can’t help but think of worst-case scenarios. “What if he needs surgery?” “What if it’s something really serious?” “Why isn’t there anything I can do to help him?” and even questions more along the lines of practicality like, “Could this have come at a worse time? We’re newly-weds, we’ve been sick off and on in the short span that we’ve been married and we really could do without an ER bill right now.” They ran several tests on him and gave him iv fluids and medicine to help relieve his pain, and an hour or so later his results came back…perfectly fine? So fine that the doctor said it’s rare to have counts in all areas tested for as good as yours? You know you hate hearing that when you go to the doctor feeling terrible and just want to be told what’s wrong and get some meds to knock out whatever it is, and you especially hate hearing the word “viral” since it means there’s pretty much nothing you can do about it. Initially, we were really confused and kinda bummed at that news, but then it got us thinking about how it could’ve been so much worse. It could’ve been something incredibly serious, his health could’ve been compromised like so many experience, but it wasn’t. His pain could’ve been far worse, but it wasn’t. We could’ve had to admit him, but we didn’t. And as for worrying about practical issues, already today I have seen love, kindness, support and generosity from friends, family and employers alike that showed me that “The bowl of flour was not exhausted nor did the jar of oil become empty, according to the word of the LORD…” – 1 Kings 17:16. He always provides us with what we need, and shows us so many things we are blessed with that we may fail to recognize without discomfort, and draws us closer to Him in that realization.
The Psalm we had read at our wedding Mass was “The Lord is kind and merciful.” Our pastor in his homily encouraged us to hang those words somewhere in our house, and to remember them especially during the difficult times we would have in our lives and in our marriage. Despite it being a scary and tiresome experience, much more so for my husband than myself, we have both been strongly reminded that the Lord is indeed, kind and merciful.
So, why is it called Good Friday? Because Christ experienced the ultimate suffering, death on a cross, for a beautiful purpose. To redeem each and every one of us, and to remind us of His undying love for us. And that is a very good thing.
I hope that any of you experiencing suffering in your life, great or small, may unite your suffering with Christ’s today, and I hope all of you have a beautiful Easter weekend!
Konnor with a K