Easter Saturday is a great day to remind myself that I don’t.
Before I met Christ, I absolutely thought that what I could see is what I would get. Perhaps surprisingly, knowing Christ doesn’t seem to have made much of a dent in that belief.
In spite of the plentiful – and sometimes dramatic – twists and turns of my Christian walk, I still fall into the trap of thinking that I can see how “all this” (whatever it happens to be) is going to pan out. Even when repeatedly I am completely wrong.
Over the years I have cried out to the Lord, “HELP! What do I do/which way do I go now??” And He replies, “Make your decisions on the basis of who you know Me to be. I do not change. Guidance comes through your relationship with Me in relation to your circumstances. Look for Me in my Word. No neon signs, I call you to walk by faith not by sight. And in peace, because you trust Me.”
“Got it,” I reply seriously. Only to protest loudly in agitation not two minutes later: “BUT I CAN’T SEE WHERE I’M GOING!?” And so He and I go round again. And again. And so on.
Abraham went out ‘not knowing whither he went.’ That was evidently doable for Abraham but me? Not so much. I go out not knowing where I’m going — while secretly thinking that actually I absolutely do.
Did Joseph think he was ever getting out of that pit? Was he holding onto the dream the Lord had given him about his future? Scripture doesn’t record his thoughts en route but I can tell you mine on my own journey. I know in my heart that the plans the Lord has for me are ‘to prosper me and not to harm me. To give me a future and a hope.’ But do I live that way? Not really. I fall in a pit and think, “Well, this is bad. And yet not so bad? I could get used to the dark and the damp. I can be brave because God is still with me.”
Then I’m surprised when the pit gives way to a different landscape, just when I was getting used to it. “Who knew!” I cry. And the answer to that is obvious.
I’m not sure whether my surprise is the result of a lack of faith or simply self-protection. God could change the pit in a few short months, but I also know that to the Lord a day is like a thousand years. And I seem to ignore the next bit — that God can also turn a thousand years into a day. “In my time I will do it quickly,” says the Lord.
My experience has been that after sometimes very long periods of waiting this is exactly what He does. And I am amazed even though He’s promised.
So I am, unsurprisingly, constantly amazed by God.
I know that God is the Lord of the whole jigsaw. That He made the frame, He holds all the pieces, He knows what the complete picture looks like. Yet time and again, I look at the small number of pieces that have as yet been revealed to me and think, “Oy. Doesn’t look good… Not much I can do with this.”
Before Good Friday, Jesus had been clear with His disciples. He was going to be betrayed, He was going to die, He was going to rise again.
Then it happened just exactly as He said it would. But His disciples? Those who had been physically with Him for three years? They thought, “Well, it’s all over now then. He’s dead. The Kingdom never came.”
In my ongoing struggles to keep faith in the dark, on Easter Saturday I can at least be reassured by the company I keep.
And how their weekend panned out.