Easter: Expect the Unexpected!

“…as it is written, ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined the things that God has prepared for those who love him,'” (1 Corinthians 2:9, ISV).

A blessed, glorious Easter to you! Jesus has risen, resurrected bodily from the grave. He’s alive forever, and God’s new creation has begun! This – not bunnies and chocolate (delightful as those are) – is what we celebrate with gratitude and great joy this day.

Many years ago, I was struggling with a very painful, difficult family situation. I had prayed to accept the circumstances, as well as my helplessness to change anything, but I seemed to be stuck. I needed some help. I was angry and resentful, and having a hard time forgiving a family member who had wounded me deeply, despite knowing that I must forgive them. The confessional beckoned.

I will never forget what the priest said to me that day: It’s not over until God says it’s over!” he said. “Do what you can, wait on God and see what He will do. Always be prepared to be surprised by God, because Easter was the biggest surprise there was!”

The dark powers were indeed surprised that day 2,000 years ago! They believed they had defeated Jesus entirely. They had no expectation that the worst injustice in history – the death of God – would transform into the very source of new life! They had zero capacity to understand love, and so they were totally baffled by what Jesus had allowed to befall him. They believed it was the end, and not the beginning of something entirely new and unprecedented (though long-promised in Scripture): the new Creation ushered in by the New Adam!

Often in our lives, we have expectations about what “should” happen in a situation. Sometimes, those expectations contribute to our suffering when they don’t materialize. Our expectations can keep us from seeing and receiving whatever good is in the situation because we’re too focused on what isn’t there.

The key to peace in the midst of such painful, distressing circumstances is clear: wait trustingly for the Lord to act (simple, but not easy!); remain open-hearted to receive whatever He sends our way; and look for the surprising ways God will show up. Humble dependence on God’s goodness and detachment from our own demands about life are both key.

Easter is not just one day out of the year; the hope and power of Easter are always available, for Jesus never changes. He reigns over all of His Creation and His love and goodness will triumph in the end!

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