Woodshed Wisdom
By Freeman Martin

Some folks have been looking forward to today ever since Monday morning. Thank goodness it’s Friday. The end of the work week. The beginning of the weekend. Yah-Hoo. Let’s have a party and celebrate our two-day freedom. I read somewhere that ‘the experts’ have done studies on such things, and come to the conclusion that productiveness in the workplace will actually start a downhill slide after about the first coffee break this morning. And you might as well forget about accomplishing anything of significance after twelve noon on Friday.

I’m almost positive those so-called experts didn’t drive down that dirt road to our farm back home at Route 4, Seneca, SC, and include my Daddy’s opinion in their survey. If they had, he would have told them that the arrival of Friday around our house meant that there was only one more full day in the work week before the Sunday ‘drug’ problem had to be dealt with.

Yeah, I know. You’re a paragraph ahead of me here. Most kids I grew up with had that same ‘drug’ problem. We got drug to church every time the doors were open. Twice on Sunday and once on Wednesday. And twice a year, it was every night of the week during those seven-day Spring and Fall revivals.

But today, this Friday carries a much heavier meaning than just the end of the work week. As I write in the pre-dawn hours of this Good Friday morning, it seems a bit darker than usual. Probably because of the clouds and rain. That might put a damper on that TFIG feeling. But most folks will still be a little giddy at work, if they’re even at work today. They won’t let the darkness of the sky ruin their plans for the weekend. In fact, most of the world will go about their day today with a ‘business as usual’ attitude.

I don’t know about you, but dark is a downer for me. In fact, my mill hill bride and I both are just a wee bit happier when we can be in the house at night at least by dark-thirty. Maybe it’s just because we’re ‘chronologically challenged.’ Don’t call us old. Or maybe I can just trace it back home to the farm. Buddy, when it got dark there, it was DARK. No amber-glow of street lights. No backyard security lights that come on automatically at dusky dark. No beacons to light up the night sky. Just darkness everywhere. Why, you could stand ten feet outside Mother’s 40-watt kitchen light, and it would be so dark, you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face. And sometimes you imagined seeing hands that weren’t your hands in front of your face.

And speaking of darkness on this Good Friday morning, there’s a question that keeps bouncing off the walls inside my brain like a racquet ball. When Jesus was hanging on the cross from noon to three o’clock (Matthew 27:45), darkness came over all the land.
And a lot other bad stuff happened in the dark that Friday. The curtain of the temple tore in two from top to bottom. There was an earthquake that split the rocks open. And many holy people who had been graveyard dead and buried came out of their tombs (Matthew 27:51-53).

So, with all that going on, how in the name of Sam Hill, can we call it Good Friday? Assuming that ‘good’ makes us ‘happy,’ it’s as hard as a flint rock for me to imagine anything good or happy about a day known for darkness and sadness. Even in a world seemingly obsessed with the pursuit of personal happiness, how can we be happy and celebrate such tragedy?

On this side of Calvary, we already know the answer to that question because it’s an open book test. The Bible is like a parachute. It works best when it’s open! And when we open it to Luke 23:34, we can begin to understand, in some small way, the overwhelming magnitude of Jesus’ unconditional love and forgiveness for you and me. A love so amazing that He would allow Himself to be brutally murdered, even though He had done nothing wrong. And He even had to pay that steep price for my sin in advance, before I ever knew Him.

I can still hear Jake Hess singing that great gospel song written by Ronald Payne and Ronnie Hinson, “When He Was On The Cross, I Was On His Mind.” One of the verses goes like this – sing along if you remember – “No one ever cared for me like Jesus, there’s no other friend so kind as He; no one else could take my sin and darkness from me; Oh, how much He cares for me.”

He had me (and you) on His mind while He was on the cross. That is, indeed, enough reason for me to be happy.

Turn on every light in the house! Let’s celebrate! It’s GOOD FRIDAY!