“The deeper the heartache, the greater the joy when the answer comes.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – April 17, 2022
“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here.” Mark 16:6
A few years ago, I attended an Easter egg hunt where my girlfriend’s small children scurried around a large grassy area next to their church while looking for pastel-colored eggs filled with candy. I can still recall the looks of joy and surprise on the kid’s faces when they found an egg nestled in the grass.
Surprises aren’t just for Easter egg hunts, they were for the earliest followers of Christ too. Can you imagine being the disciples? The Lord had just been crucified. How they must have been brokenhearted and confused! How their hearts must have ached!
I find it interesting that God didn’t make it easier on the disciples. He didn’t arrange things so that they didn’t have to wait three days in sadness before they saw Christ and knew He had been raised from the dead.
Could it have been that He made them wait not only so they would fully believe in His message but also so that He could surprise them? It’s often when we feel the most disappointed and disillusioned that we feel the most joy when the answer or a resolution comes.
Indeed, that first Easter was filled with surprises for the disciples and the first followers of Christ. Imagine how the three women who went to anoint Jesus’ body at the tomb must have felt when the stone had been rolled away!
Imagine how they must have felt when they saw the angel who spoke to them and told them that Jesus had been raised from the dead after they had experienced so much hurt and disappointment!
Imagine how they must have felt when the angel told them that Jesus would go ahead of them into Galilee!
Imagine how Peter must have felt when Jesus forgave him for betraying Him.
Surprise! (That’s amazing grace!)
Imagine how the disciples must have felt when they finally recognized Jesus on the Road to Emmaus.
Imagine how they must have felt in Luke 24:44 when Jesus appeared to them and said, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”
Ah yes! So that’s what He meant! It makes more sense now.
Oh! Imagine what deep and great joy they must have felt! It’s only when we have experienced deep pain that we can fully feel the joy that comes with a God-given surprise. I wonder if the Lord smiled and snickered just a little when He knew how much joy the disciples would experience after the resurrection. What amazing love He has for His creation!
Easter is a reminder that no matter how bad things look, the Lord always has surprises around the corner. Surprises of redemption. Surprises of hope. Surprises of joy. If you’re in a dark place, your Sunday is coming with a whole lot of surprises. Trust Him.
The deeper the heartache, the greater the joy when the answer comes. What a wonderful Lord we serve!
“While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you” (Luke 24:36).
Lord, help me to live in anticipation of your surprises this Easter and every day. Amen.
How has the Lord surprised and delighted you with unexpected answers in your life? Think about it, then thank Him.
Matt Boswell and Matt Papa: O Worship the Risen Christ
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