Last week, on Palm Sunday, my 11-year-old daughter was sitting around with a few of my friends from church and asked us a question: “Next Friday is Good Friday. Why is it called ‘Good Friday?’ There’s nothing really ‘good’ about it.”
Me, a public theologian and seminary graduate, and three other really smart, bright, church going, educated, well traveled adults sat there with blank stares because none of us could answer the question.
We took to Google to get the answer.
Whatever we found seemed to satisfy this inquisitive 11-year-old (who asks even harder theological questions like, “If God created every thing, who created God?”) and we all breathed a sigh of relief that we were no longer under the questioning of a child whose theological questioning had four adults stumped.
But this morning, on Good Friday, I woke up with the same question: what is good about today? What is good about betrayal, torture, rejection, ridicule, and eventually death? What’s good about sacrificing your life for people who you don’t even know — many of whom will fail you over and over again? What is good about living out your purpose — your God given purpose — only for people to question your calling, ministry, and impact on the world around you? What good can come from Calvary’s cross?
I think many of us are in places where we ask the same questions. We are in times of dark, deep questioning, asking ourselves and God, “What good is this?” What good is this pain, hurt, brokenness, and loss? What good will spending another holiday alone do? What good will come from the kinds of emotional, financial, and relational suffering that comes with choosing to pursue God instead of our own desires? What good will come?
Sometimes we don’t see the good in it all. Sometimes it makes no sense and we eventually settle into the idea that God has left us on our own proverbial Calvary to figure this thing out on our own. Sometimes we never see the good in what happens to us. It’s never resolved, we never reconcile.
So it seems.
I’m slow to write or talk about Resurrection hope on Good Friday because I’m a well trained theologian. (Ha!) I know it can be a theological faux pas to offer the hope of Sunday when we’re still in the darkness of Good Friday.
But I want to attempt to answer my daughter’s question.
Baby girl, it’s good because everything, everything works out for our good.
Cliché, but true.
Think about Jesus’ Good Friday story: He went through betrayal, being falsely accused, beaten beyond recognition, dying a gruesome death, and people literally believing he was dead and was not coming back. While we are not Jesus, I think we know what it’s like to suffer and for things that matter to us metaphorically die right before us.
But if you think about it, more often than not, it all makes sense in the end. We often find ourselves on the other side of divorce, death, health issues, financial ruin, broken hearts, lost opportunities, foreclosure, social missteps – the entire gamut – on the other side better than we began.
What good is Good Friday? It is the place we accept the difficulties of life for what they are.
What good is Good Friday? It is the place where we can begin imagining what our resurrected hope looks like.
What good is Good Friday? It is the place, though darkness lives, we can see far off into the distance the light of new life.
What good is this? We’ll see.
On the Chase,