Normally, when you think of the word “good,” unbearable pain, intense suffering, public humiliation and feelings of abandonment and shame aren’t the first things that come to mind. There is a certain standard of what is good in human experience, and none of those things typically fit into that standard. These, generally speaking, would be rather the opposite.
But, as Christians, we don’t look at events with a typical human standard. We look at circumstances and events through the lens of faith—and that changes everything.
We’ve all heard (or experienced, personally) stories where something really good came out of something really bad. What seemed to be an evil circumstance turned into a life-altering, or even life-saving event. Somehow, viewed through the outcome, the initial thing that we would normally call bad or evil, has a salvific element to it.
Such is the case for Good Friday. It’s a terrible story. My six year old, after having seen the (very excellent) Living Stations that our school’s 8th graders put on, told me that he only liked Station number 1, 2 and 14. The rest were too sad.
But, lucky for us, we have the 14th Station. We all know the end of the story. We know that, by Sunday, the best possible, and most unlikely resolution happens. Jesus, who was dead, is now alive! And it doesn’t even end there! His death and resurrection have huge implications for each of us. We, who were dead in sin, have now been freed to live abundantly happy lives. We, who will actually die someday, will be born to new life; eternal life with God in heaven.
Who could have seen that coming on that awful, wonderful day? Not Jesus’ apostles. Not the guys who were responsible for it. Probably not even his Mom. Only God knew what would happen. We just had to be still, try and be faithful, and wait for God. And He came. And He continues to come. And He will come again. We don’t know what that will look like, but, judging from God’s history, it promises to be pretty great.