On Palm Sunday Jesus rides into Jerusalem with palms waving and hundreds of cheering fans certain that he was the Messiah who would set Israel free from Roman rule. They were ready to crown him King because they were convinced he was about to make what was all wrong, all right! But on that original Easter morning when the sun rose, disappointment and not jubilation ruled. Jesus’ followers were dejected and their expectations had been dashed. Even when the women returned with the news that Jesus was not in the tomb, Luke records that “these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them.”
Jesus joins two of His followers that morning on the road to Emmaus, neither recognized Him. Why not? I wonder if it is the same reason that I fail to recognize Him when He is right next to me whenever I try on my own to make sense out of extreme disappointments. When my career doesn’t go the direction I had hoped, when my children don’t become what I had dreamed, when my goals cease to be realistic and those I trusted in and counted on don’t come through. Why God? I was so sure, and now I’m not. Have you been there? I have!
That Easter morning began in disappointment but it ended in jubilation! Christ had risen, He had risen indeed! But how God did it wasn’t how they expected. And it’s the same for you and for me. What God wants to do in our lives won’t be what we expect but it will be what we need. I’m learning to let go of my expectations, release my grip on how I think it should be. And with open palms facing upwards, the quicker I surrender to whatever God brings down my path the quicker that I will recognize the Lord’s abiding presence has been there all the time.
by Dirke Johnson
Dirke has his doctorate in Church Leadership and is a professor in the Ministry Degree program at Palm Beach Atlantic University. He also teaches at Cru’s Institute of Biblical Studies. He specializes in Leader Development, creating high performing teams and has years of experience at ministering in urban cross-cultural and international contexts.