As I write, a mix of snow and ice is falling outside. Both my wife and I planned to work in our offices today, but for the time being we are instead stuck working from home. We are thankful for the technol-ogy that makes this possible, yet mildly annoyed at the required adjust-ments that winter weather often brings to life.
Most complaints I hear about winter weather focus not on the cold air or the slippery sidewalks, but rather how the unpredictability of snow and ice forces us to change plans at a moment’s notice. Par-ents must make arrangements for children they thought would be in school. Schools and businesses must make quick decisions about whether to close. Commutes become twice as long. Plow drivers are on the clock, with no idea how long their day will be.
Meteorologists help prepare us for potential storms on the way, but the truth is we never know ahead of time exactly what will happen. Even if we knew, we still couldn’t control it. It would still foil our plans for the day.
I suppose this is what it must have been like being one of the first disciples of Jesus. They had a general sense of what he might do, but never knew exactly how it would happen. And they may have pre-dicted that his radical behavior may end in death, but they never would have predicted the resurrection. We know this because of the surprised reactions that came when he appeared afterwards.
For us, we know the resurrection is coming. We already have Easter marked on the calendar, and have all of Lent to prepare for that day. We plan to be in worship to celebrate the risen Savior, and per-haps we are making plans for family gatherings that afternoon. But we can only predict and plan, because maybe we’ll fall too ill to make it. Maybe a crisis will call us away. Both these things – a family crisis and a personal health issue – have changed my Easter morning plans at the last minute twice in the past 3 years!
Who knows…maybe it will even snow on Easter! But this is what following God in Jesus Christ is like sometimes. We can predict and plan, but we cannot know for sure what God will do.
One of my favorite hymns is the Hymn of Promise. Its lyrics re-mind us that “in the bulb there is a flower” and “in the cold and snow of winter there’s a spring that waits to be.” It promises “a dawn in eve-ry darkness” and “in our death, a resurrection.” But my favorite line is the end of the 2nd verse:
“From the past, will come the future;
what it holds, a mystery,
unrevealed until its season,
something God alone can see.”
We know the past, but we don’t know the future. Try as we might to predict or plan or control the future, what it holds is a mys-tery. We know Easter is coming, but we don’t know what God will do in and through us as a result. We have a general sense that our lives will be changed by embracing the risen Christ, but none of us knows how that will happen. That’s something God alone can see.