Bad Fridays and Good Sundays

From Paul Tripp Ministries

There’s a famous Good Friday message preached by S.M. Lockridge, who pastored Calvary Baptist Church in San Diego from the 1950s until the 1990s. (He went home to be with the Lord in 2000).

The stirring meditation follows this cadence: “It’s Friday […] but Sunday is coming.”

Here’s an excerpt:

It’s Friday
The disciples are running
Like sheep without a shepherd
Mary’s crying
Peter is denying
But they don’t know
That Sunday’s a comin’

It’s Friday
The Romans beat my Jesus
They robe him in scarlet
They crown him with thorns
But they don’t know
That Sunday’s comin’

It’s Friday
See Jesus walking to Calvary
His blood dripping
His body stumbling
And his spirit’s burdened
But you see, it’s only Friday
Sunday’s comin’

More recently, the Christian singer/songwriter Phil Wickham released a similar song, “Sunday Is Coming.” The refrain repeats this simple yet life-changing line: “Friday’s good ’cause Sunday is coming.”

As we approach Good Friday and Easter Sunday, it’s important to remember that at the center of a biblical worldview is this radical recognition: the most horrible thing that ever happened was the most wonderful thing that ever happened.

In God’s righteous and wise plan, this dark and disastrous moment—the crucifixion of Christ—was ordained to be the moment that would fix all the dark and disastrous things that sin had done to the world.

This seemingly hopeless moment of death was, at the same time, a moment of life when eternal hope was given. So be careful how you make sense of your life. What looks like a disaster may, in fact, be grace. What looks like the end may be the beginning.

The same God who planned that the worst thing would be the best thing is your Father. He rules over every moment in your life, and in powerful grace, he can do for you just what he did in redemptive history.

He takes the disasters in your life and makes them tools of redemption. He takes your failure and employs it as a tool of grace. He uses the “death” of the fallen world to motivate you to reach out for life.

The hardest things in your life become the sweetest tools of grace in his wise and loving hands. Your Father is committed to taking what seems so bad and turning it into something that is very, very good.

“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it” (Acts 2:22-24).

The good days
are a gift of love
from the hands of the One
who is wisdom.

The bad days
are a gift of wisdom
from the hands of One
who is love.

The comfortable
and the uncomfortable
are equally efficient tools
of divine grace.

What is comfortable
changes my heart
reminding me to focus
the eyes of my heart on
the faithfulness
the tenderness
the kindness
of the Father’s heart.

What is uncomfortable
empowers my heart
to remember the zeal
the transformative power
the inexhaustibility
my constant need
of the Savior’s grace.

When you bless me
with what is comfortable
you are loving
you are righteous
you are faithful
you are good.

When you lead me
through what is uncomfortable
you are loving
you are righteous
you are faithful
you are good.

So I will not restrict my worship
to the good days.
I will not limit my gratitude
to what is comfortable.

I will not curse
the bad days,
questioning your faithfulness
and love.

In darkness and in light,
I will worship you,
I will rest in your will.

May your mercy empower me
to remember
my hope, rest, and surety is
the same
on the good day
and on the bad,
because my hope
rest and surety
is in you.

A Prayer for Today: Father, help me to see and trust that the difficult and seemingly terrible things in my life are ruled over by you. Help me to walk by faith and believe that the bitter things in my life can be made sweet by your powerful and loving hand. Even though I may not understand now, would you give me the grace to rely on your faithfulness when nothing in my life makes sense. I trust you when life is going great, now please help me to trust you when life seems to be a mess. In Jesus’ name, amen.

God bless,

Paul David Tripp

Discussion Prompt for Children

How can God make good things out of the bad things in life, and why should we trust him when we don’t understand what’s happening in our lives?

Reflection Questions

1. From our vantage point in history, we know what happened three days after Jesus was crucified, but imagine what it must have been like for the disciples on Good Friday after Jesus was murdered. Knowing what we know now about how God turned the worst thing ever into the greatest thing in the history of the universe, how can you trust God on your worst days?

2. How can the most horrible days in your life be made into gifts of wisdom when we know that the one who gives us life is a loving, faithful, and good God? How has God specifically made the hardest things in your life into the sweetest tools of grace for you? Take some time to list a few of the hard things and then write out the subsequent goodness and redemption God has brought from it.

3. What dark and difficult things are you facing right now, and how can you pray by faith that God will use those hard things to bring about wisdom, redemption, power, zeal, humility, enlightenment, love, gratitude, character, etc. into your life? Take a moment to pray right now that God would shape you throughout your specific trials and sufferings.

Bad Fridays and Good Sundays

New Hope Presbyterian Church Bridgeton, NJ

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