Good Friday is traditionally in the church calendar a day of grief. Today, we reflect on how Jesus was tortured, nailed to a cross, and killed, an event that caught the attention of a few bystanders, while an oppressive and uncaring Roman government that crucified dozens each day failed to notice. It’s a day when we marvel at the humble birth, life, and death of our savior, who was killed as a criminal.
It’s an opportunity, in other words, to slow down long enough to grieve for the pain in the world, the injustice, the suffering, and the sin in us. It’s a time where we cry out for resurrection, knowing resurrection is still a couple days away.
And so it’s worth asking: what do you need to grieve in your marriage?
Do you need to grieve the small resentments that have been left unchecked and turned into suspicion, jealousy, insecurity, or anger?
Do you need to grieve the struggle to conceive, or a miscarriage, or a child’s death?
Do you need to grieve the constant financial stress you and your spouse are facing, and your seeming inability to dig out of it?
Do you need to grieve an affair, either committed by you or against you?
Do you need to grieve an addiction that you can’t seem to shake?
Do you need to grieve the silence between you and your spouse, comfortable and pleasant, but filled with unspoken hopes, dreams, or fears?
Do you need to grieve the strain of parenting?
Do you need to grieve an illness?
Do you need to grieve a lost job?
Do you need to grieve feeling as though you are sleeping with a stranger you share a last name with?
Would you have the courage, right now, in this moment, to let yourself feel that thing you try so hard not to feel, that you cover up with alcohol, or shopping, or workaholism, or busyness, or exercise, or overeating? Could you stop, right now, right this moment, and let yourself feel …
Sad. Hopeless. Worthless. Abandoned. Incapable. Angry.
And would you have the courage to take that feeling, and right now, as you’re reading this, take it to God. To be brutally honest with God. To tell God all the things you are feeling, all the disillusionment, hurt, uncertainty, and fear?
On Good Friday, would you have the courage to do something uniquely countercultural and radical: to let yourself be sad before God?
And then would you have the courage to believe …
That if Jesus really died, and then lived again, if Jesus truly conquered death, the greatest enemy, took away it’s sting, said that death itself will one day die … if Jesus really did that, could you dare to hope that Jesus is powerful enough to step into the pain of your marriage, your grief, and mourning, and sadness … to step into the marriage that seems too far gone, the spouse that seems too far away, the pain that seems too powerful, the stress that seems too suffocating …
Could you believe, that Jesus could bring resurrection, even in you? Even in your marriage?
That hope is not gone.
That resurrection is still possible.
Because Easter is coming.
Could you believe that?
Easter is coming, to the whole world,
And in your marriage too.
Joshua Pease is an author, journalist, pastor, and speaker. You can see more of his work here.