My head is heavy. Requests for granola and cups to be filled with water and Play Doh jars to be opened, I can’t take them right now. Not before I have had a chance to pour myself a cup of coffee. But then my five-year-old makes a request I cannot say no to. “Mom, can you read us a Bible story?” Steam rises from my mug as I pour that first cup, and settle down onto the floor between a pile of boys. I know just the story. But they’re not going to like it.
Sure enough, my three year old speaks up when he sees the first illustration painted across the page. “I do not like the parts of this one, Mom.”
“I know Love,” I tell him, “but do you remember that today is Good Friday?” I hold up three fingers and give them the same visual we have been talking about all week. “Do you remember that there were three days? And on the first day, Jesus had to die on the cross. Today is that first day, Good Friday. And today we remember that Jesus chose to die so that He could rescue us. We have to remember the sad parts, and then in three days, we can remember the happy parts.”
I begin to read. And when we make it to the final page of the chapter, we meet an abrupt end. Most stories in their Children’s Bible end on a chipper note. A conclusion. A happy ending. This one ends with a dark sky and an occupied tomb.
Because after all, it is only Friday.
I flip to the next page with a new chapter heading, and a painting of three women approaching the tomb. I want so badly to read on. I know what happens next, I know the hope waiting on the other side of that tomb. But I cannot. Because it’s only Friday.
I want my boys to land on the happy ending. For their hearts to rest in the good news. But today? Their hearts, as well as my own, need to rest in the Friday news. In the filled tomb. In the torn veil. In the blood spilled. In the sting of the real cost of our sins.
It’s only Friday, after all.
And on this Friday we will dwell on the sad news, eager and anxious and waiting for the third day. Because we know what the disciples and friends and Mary could not quite grasp back on that dark evening. Their Friday? It was spent mourning, confused, angry, and with a deep sense of hopelessness. Our Friday is different.
Our Friday lays nestled in that Bible right between the promises of hope, and hope rising. Our Friday holds the promise of Sunday. The image of that tomb empty. The truth of death conquered. His death, and our own.
And so today I only read to my boys the story of Friday. And we leave it at that, for now. Because we know that Sunday is coming.
Rest in this Good Friday, friends. Settle in. Feel its heaviness. Sense its hope. Sunday is coming, I promise.