As I head into Easter weekend, something I recently posted on Facebook runs through my head again and again:
He defies our expectations. We see graves, and he sees resurrection stories.
Good Friday was the ultimate picture of unmet expectations. To those present, the cross was a crushing disappointment. On that day, the cross looked like betrayal, shattered dreams, and death.
We get that because it is so easy to see the graves. Dreams of getting married and starting a family slip away, earning enough to evade debt overwhelms, marriages drift apart until chasms can’t be crossed, the mirror doesn’t reflect what you want to see, and dreams vanish in moments of failure.
It’s less easy to see the hope of resurrection.
Romans 8:28, which is really about seeing beyond the graves says, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” (NLT).
The word that trips me up is everything. Really, God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love him? But what about my boss undercutting my work? God is going to use that? Or what about the person being forced to stay home without an income because of coronavirus? How does this everything work? There have to be some exceptions, right? I mean a grave is a grave. It is the end of the story.
And this is why the story of a man dying on cross still translates today to a culture completely removed from the sacrificial system. We ALL understand the pain and the loss. We all get what the disciples felt when their hopes and dreams died in front of them.
But Easter weekend doesn’t end on Good Friday.
Although the story looks over, it has a surprise ending on the third day. Actually, that isn’t even the real ending. It is the beginning of hope.
When we see graves, God sees resurrection stories waiting to happen.
Whatever grave you are staring down today, it isn’t the end. The story is just getting started. Easter is coming.