Written by Home for Good
The Bible is very quiet about that Saturday.
In Matthew we learn that Pilate sent guards to seal the tomb (Matthew 27.62-66). In Mark we find three women going out after sunset to purchase the spices to anoint Jesus’ body (Mark 16.1). In Luke we are told that the disciples rested, as required by the Sabbath (Luke 23.56), and in John there is nothing mentioned at all.
It must have been a very dark day for those who lived it. When the world felt dismal and empty, when everything seemed lost.
We look back on that Saturday with the reassuring hindsight of knowing what Sunday will bring, but for those who were there, it must have felt so bleak, so sad, so hopeless – and to live through it must have required such strength and faith.
It’s unsurprising that on Sunday morning we find two of Jesus’ followers on the wrong road, going the wrong way, leaving the community of believers in Jerusalem behind them (Luke 24.13-14).
Yet even then, even though they’re out of faith, the risen Jesus goes to find them and walks with them on the road to Emmaus.
17 He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”
They stood still, their faces downcast. 18 One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”
19 “What things?” Jesus asked.
“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. 20 The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 21 but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel...”
Luke 24.17-21 (NIV)
“We had hoped…”
With their faces downcast they admit to their despair, “We had hoped”, and you can hear their pain, you can hear their struggle. They had hoped, they had believed – they had trusted him and he had let them down, they thought he was the One but now he’s gone.
Maybe they’re hurting and they’ve got nothing left to fight with.
Maybe they’re bitter and they’re fed up of having to fight in the first place.
Maybe they’re broken and they don’t want to have to fight anymore, because fighting is too painful.
They had hoped, but their hopes have been dashed by adversaries that are just too powerful, by systems that are just too broken, by politics that are just too overbearing, by religious leaders that are just too hypocritical.
And perhaps you are feeling like this too.
You had hoped to make a difference. You had hoped to make things better. You had hoped that you would have enough to give.
But your hopes have been dashed by, a long wait, a heartbreaking court ruling, not enough support, a withdrawal of therapeutic provision, a promised meeting that never comes, or a missing piece of paperwork.
Whatever it is, it feels like Saturday, when everything is bleak and desolate and still ongoing, and you’re living in the unknown of challenging days and unanswered phone calls, and you have no idea if and when Sunday might come. It’s understandable that perhaps your footsteps are also marking the road to Emmaus.
For them, this Saturday stretches on in their wait for permanence, for stability, for a forever family who will care for them and advocate for them and never, ever give up on them.
And although, for the disciples on the Emmaus Road, there was that great Sunday of celebration, when hope was restored and faith was renewed, when the risen Jesus came to walk with them and help them understand (Luke 24.27-32), their future was not the happy ever after of a wistful fairy tale. It was a continual choice to trust, to press on, to not give up on what they knew to be true.
As it is for those who care for vulnerable children, and for the children themselves.
Whether we feel we’re existing in a perpetual Saturday of not knowing, or we’re holding on beyond Sunday, trying to do what we’ve been called to do in the midst of trauma, pain, and brokenness, it is a choice to keep on going.
Would we have the courage and the strength to steel ourselves for the wait and the challenges, and remain in Jerusalem, not trudging along the road to Emmaus?
And if we have ended up seven miles down that road, would we dare to come back when Jesus asks us to return? Would we meet him in our fear and bitterness and pain and heartache, and let him guide us back to Jerusalem with renewed hope that perhaps he was the One, he is the One, even when life hurts and things are not as we had thought they would be.
And would we, ultimately, hold fast to him when it feels like Saturday, and we have no idea whether or not Sunday is coming soon? Which is not easy when we’re barely surviving through the endless unknown, and why we need others to stand with us and support us and love us and love our children with us.
And would we pray for Sundays for children in care? That each and every one would be drawn into a safe, stable and loving family, whether through adoption, foster care or another form of permanence, who would commit to caring for them, nurturing them, and advocating for them.
Thank you for holding on. If you are a foster carer or an adopter and it feels like Saturday, we hope that you would be able to share this with those in your support network or church. You can also contact Home for Good. If you are waiting to foster or adopt and it feels like Sunday is not coming, we hope that you are able to hold on and keep waiting. If your heart breaks for vulnerable children, we hope that this would fuel you to pray, to support families, and perhaps even consider caring for a child through fostering or adoption.
We want to find a home for every child who needs one, and ensure that families are well supported. You can help us achieve this by giving to our appeal.