This isn’t the way life was supposed to turn out.
Have you ever found yourself thinking that? I know I have.
Sitting in my college dorm, imagining my bright future, not once did I say, “And then I’ll have a really hard time getting pregnant — twice — and when I finally get two healthy kids and life seems to be settling down, then my baby will get leukemia.”
No. It was a lot more like, “We’ll have 2.5 healthy kids, and I’ll have a job that pays well, fulfills me, and leaves me with plenty of free time to pursue my hobbies and dreams.”
Oh how naive that young College-Jenni was. The truth is, life just doesn’t always turn out how we had planned. It certainly didn’t for Jesus’ disciples.
They had imagined a lofty future — College-Jenni style — of Jesus ruling over an earthly kingdom, redeeming Israel in a very earthly way. Over and over, Jesus tried to warn them that He would have to suffer and die, but it just wasn’t sinking in for them.
When Jesus was crucified, it totally caught the disciples off guard. This wasn’t at all what they had imagined. Now their leader was dead, and they were hiding behind locked doors, afraid for their own lives.
Has there been a time like that in your own life, when things got all twisted, confused and off the course you had imagined? I know I can.
But after three agonizing days of wondering how things could have gotten so off-course, the disciples found themselves standing at an empty tomb, listening to the angels words:
He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” Then they remembered his words. Luke 24:6-8
A little at a time, the disciples started to understand. They started to wrap their mind around what Jesus had been talking about all along. He wasn’t saving Israel in an earthly way.
Jesus was saving us all in an eternal way.
In our own lives, we may still be like the disciples before Jesus resurrection — wondering how life turned out this way.
But I have hope that one day — either in this life or the next — God will allow us all to stand at the empty tomb and see how our suffering has been resurrected for good.
With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning [within us] while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:31-32)
Has life turned out differently than you had planned? Has God allowed you to see some of your suffering redeemed for good?