By Mindy Robinson
Have you heard the phrase, “Man plans, and God laughs?” While I don’t think God is laughing at us, I can’t help but feel the truth of this statement right now.
As a church, we had planned for the Spring semester. We knew what each event would look like. I could envision the kids walking down the aisle, waving palm branches and shouting “Hosanna.” I could taste the hot dogs of our Easter Egg Hunt and smell the breakfast cooking in the fellowship building on Easter morning. I could hear our voices joined together, singing the verses of that great Easter hymn, “Because He Lives.” But our plans have changed. That which we expected has not come to pass.
Close to 2,000 years ago, the Jewish people were preparing for the Passover. Many expected it to be identical to the year before. Some though had heard of this man named Jesus and whispered words were being passed along. Words like “Prophet, Son of David, and Messiah.” And with those whispers came the growing expectation that this Passover might be different. If this Jesus truly is the long-awaited Messiah, then maybe this year he will rise up and take control of the city and vanquish the Romans once and for all.
No one could have expected what happened next. They expected a mighty king on a horse and got a lowly Rabbi on a donkey. They expected a military uprising, but saw Jesus arrested. They expected Rome to be fully defeated, but instead witnessed Rome hang their savoir on a tree.
After his death, they expected nothing. The consensus was that it was all over. All hope was buried in that tomb, and everyone, especially those who fought so hard to have him killed, expected he would remain buried. But “Man plans, and God Laughs,” and I can’t help but hear the rolls of joyous laughter that filled heaven and earth on that third day, when the Angel told Mary, “He is not here; for he is risen.”
No one knew what God was up to. Through so much pain and uncertainty, God was working in the midst of it all for our good. They had so many expectations, but no one knew that God had already imagined something greater than anyone could have planned. They expected the Lion to conquer Rome, but God, without anyone noticing, defeated death with a Lamb.
When we were planning, how could we have known a virus was going to bring the world as we know it to its knees? We couldn’t. There is no way to know what tomorrow holds. But I am confident that even now, in this painful and uncertain time, God is still working for our good.
So yes, maybe this virus has brought us to our knees; but while we are kneeling, we will pray to the one who has the power to lift us up. We will continue to serve one another in new and creative ways: By setting up lawn chairs in the yards of our shut ins, just to check in with them; by allowing our teachers to use the internet at the church, since we know Wi-Fi is not easily accessible around here; by delivering meals to the families who we know are struggling during this time; and by creating and delivering Easter baskets to the kids in our community.
The Lord knows something about tomorrow that we do not. We can’t see the future, so all we can do is continue to look back to what we do know. That He is alive and because He lives, we can face tomorrow!
Mindy Robinson serves as the Coordinator for Community Engagement and Student Ministries at Gardner-Webb University. She is married to Chase Robinson, the Pastor at Sandy Plains Baptist Church in Shelby, N.C., where she also serves as the Missions and Outreach Director.
A beautiful epistle for such a time as this!