I’ve heard it over and over again in our present crisis. Have you?
“This hasn’t taken God by surprise.”
No, but it has taken me by surprise, along with the rest of the world. And that reminds me of Good Friday. God was expecting it, but nobody else on earth was.
I don’t know how much longer this thing will go on. And like you, I’m so anxious to feel “uncaged.” I want to go to church again, to see people in person instead of on a screen, to go to Walmart without seeing an associate wiping down the carts and to finally be able to find flour and toilet paper in normal supply on the shelves.
I imagine the disciples of Jesus felt a little of this. Their world was suddenly changed by His death. Everything they thought they’d be doing was changed; all their plans hinged on Him. They didn’t know how to move forward. They weren’t sure what their next step should be.
The unexpectedness of Good Friday for the disciples revealed their misunderstanding of the plans of God. They were anticipating an earthly Kingdom and a warring Messiah. The Father was designing an eternal Reign and sent a suffering Savior.
Today, all of our hopes are focused on Jesus. People around the world are remembering His sacrifice and, in this global extremity, are pausing to keep time-honored rituals and sing familiar songs and prayer grateful prayers. In our moments of unexpectedness, we remember His determination to go through with the Cross, what He was expecting all along.
Today, while the world is sick, we look to the Son of Man with healing in His wings.
Today, while our leaders have no answers, we focus on the Father whose plans never fail.
Today, while families are separated, we draw near to the Comforter, the Blessed Spirit who is always near.
Today, while we grope in uncertainty, we rest in the One for whom the Cross was the way to certain victory and know that earthly blackness must break forth into heavenly triumph.
Today, while we are surrounded by death, we lift our hearts to Him who walked the Via Dolorosa.
Today, the surprise is ours, not His.
Today, on Friday, we look to Sunday.
And we remember that because of His striped back and holy shed blood, we can be healed. For eternity.
Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. Isaiah 43:4-5