The question of that horrible Shabbat: Can you love God when He’s broken your heart?

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Call it the “silent chapter” of the Resurrection story.

Call it Saturday.

Better yet, call it Shabbat.

Because that’s why most of the disciples were still in Jerusalem on Sunday morning.

Mary of Magdala was still there. Mary the mother of Jesus hadn’t left. Simon Peter and John were there. In fact, 10 of the 11 surviving disciples were still in Jerusalem on Sunday.

Were they waiting on Jesus to appear again?

No way. Have you ever waited around after a funeral to see if your friend might show up in a couple of days?

Death is death. Dead is dead. Buried is buried. No one expected Jesus to show up on Sunday.

So why were they still in town?

Because God had commanded that His people would not travel on Shabbat. Once the sun went down on Friday, people who loved God dedicated the next 24 hours to rest.

God knew they needed rest after that Friday.

Jesus had been arrested, tortured and nailed to a stake. He had bled out over six hours, writhing in unbearable pain and disgrace in front of his mother, her friends, his closest disciple and tens of thousands of people who couldn’t help but see the grotesque scene just outside one of the main city gates.

Some of them had called Jesus the Messiah. Some had called him the “Son of God.” Some of them had been healed by him! One of them knew his birth had been like no other – not in all of history.

All of them were convinced that God was working through this rabbi as if the rabbi were God Himself, God in human form.

The idea that it could have come to such an end?



The man who walked on water, orchestrated too many miracles to even record and raised his friend Lazarus from the dead … had been killed right in front of them.

Suddenly, he had been powerless.

Those who had seen the crucifixion were left wondering why God would have let it happen. Their brains couldn’t wrap around how fast things had turned against Jesus. Their emotions were too mixed up to allow them to eat or sleep. They had no idea how they would ever rebuild their lives. All was lost on that awful Saturday.

Maybe you’ve been there, too. Heartbroken, perhaps. Grieving to the point of paralysis, perhaps. Angry to the point of giving up on God, even.

That’s where they were.

And yet on Shabbat, they obeyed God.

Don’t miss this detail of the Resurrection story. They loved the God who had allowed their pain. They trusted the God who led them into unspeakable anguish.

Maybe you’ve heard the story of the “Trial of God” during the Holocaust.

Nobel Laureate Eli Wiesel said he was present when it happened. According to a 2008 article, Wiesel confirmed the story’s validity. Inside Auschwitz, faithful Jewish men considered the evidence and determined the guilt of God. “They used the word ‘chayav,’ rather than ‘guilty,’” Wiesel said. “It means, ‘He owes us something.’”

The shocking part of the story isn’t that God didn’t do well at the trial. The shocking point is that after the trial, the men closed their books … and went out to pray.[1] Despite God’s “guilt,” they could do nothing else except stay true to their faith.

Can you pray to the God who has allowed your pain? Would you keep the commands of God even when it makes no sense to even believe in Him?

Every follower of Jesus still in Jerusalem the Sunday after that dark Shabbat had done exactly that. And on that Sunday, their obedience would be rewarded like they’d never imagined.

But in the meantime, on that silent Saturday, they simply obeyed.

It’s a difficult truth, but true. Until you are willing to love God when He seems unlovable, you may have never truly loved God. Until you are willing to obey when God doesn’t deserve your obedience, you may have never been obedient. Until you’ve known faith in a faithless environment, you may have never known faith.

Wherever you are in life, don’t give up on God. Don’t let go of your faith. Don’t stop obeying.

Your miracle may be only a day away.

[1] “Wiesel: Yes, we really did put God on trial.” Jenni Frazer, Jewish Chronicle Online, Sept. 18, 2008.