God’s universe is not structured the way we often think it is or how we think it should be. Why all this pain and suffering? But thank God that creation follows God’s pattern and plan and not ours!
Like the women in chapter 16 of Mark’s Gospel, our intentions are good. They went early in the morning to prepare the body of their beloved Jesus for burial. Their desire to show him this respect and kindness, their commitment to him despite his seeming “failure” to deliver, and despite the anguished loss, doubt and fear they must have felt, was so great that they didn’t even consider how they would get into the tomb until they got there. The stone in front of this borrowed waiting place was “very large,” after all. When they arrived, they were amazed to find the stone rolled out of the way. The big obstacle was removed. By some unexpected turn of events, it appeared that they could, in fact, do their duty—what they honestly believed was needed most in that moment. One minute they were wondering how they were going to accomplish what they set out to do, and the next moment, the solution was handed to them. Surprise number one.
Then, they enter the tomb, but there is no body. Instead, a heavenly messenger gives them great news and a different job. Instead of the sorrowful task they anticipated, they are commissioned to go out and share the incredible, glorious, astounding revelation that He has been raised. Their job wasn’t at all what they expected it to be. Surprise number two.
These disciples had shown up—with their faith shaken and without hope. But they had shown up anyway out of love for Jesus, to fulfill their expected role. In that loving action, God restored their hope and faith and showed them an entirely new path to follow.
God’s world doesn’t always operate the way WE expect it to, but God’s way is infinitely better. No matter the obstacles or how misguided our plans might be, when we seek to encounter and serve Jesus, nothing—not feelings, things, people or circumstances—can prevent God’s will. Keep this most poignant, everything-changing truth of God’s grace and power in mind and remember the story of these earliest disciples. Stay open to being surprised by God. Do your best to move forward in love, roll with the punches and changes in the “plan” and leave the outcome up to God.