Two years ago, I told the Easter story to the kids. When I got to the part of the resurrection I said "But He didn't stay dead did He?"
Rowan looked up, hazel eyes a-sparkle and said, "NO! And THAT is the Big Surprise!"
I stared at him for a minute. Yes, it was a big surprise. No one expected that ending. Not His mother. Not His disciples. It was a massive earth shaking surprise.
But to me, it's just the end of a well known, well loved story. I lost the surprise of it in the familiarity.
This year, I thought about what I wanted to impress upon the kids at Easter. And it was that same idea, Jesus is full of surprises. Faith is surprising. Perusing Hebrews 11 lately leaves me speechless at how crazy faith is. Build a massive boat no where near water? Sacrifice the only son, the one that God had promised would be heir? Walk through the Red Sea?
I make a rational decision and I call it faith. But it's not. It's a rational decision, well thought out, well prayed over. The things God has asked me to do by faith are crazy to my rational mind. It's not that God is not rational, it's just that He's full of surprises. Surprises that are way outside of our understanding.
So today, the day before Easter, we took the kids downtown to Portland to have lunch. It was a big surprise. We had a gift card to PF Changs and we used it, had an excellent lunch and talked about the surprise of the resurrection. Dave gave the waiter the gift card and we left him to finish up the bill while we headed to Powell's.
Well Dave was in for a surprise, because the gift card was unactivated and had a 0$ balance. Ouch. Dave took care of it and found me in Powell's and told me what happened.
As we walked back to the car I processed. What if we didn't have the money to pay for that meal? We walked past homeless people holding signs, and I wondered, what if we had consumed something we couldn't pay for?
And so it is, I can't pay for this life. I can't pay for my sins. I can't pay for an eternal home. But God can, and He did. In my rational mind, this makes no sense to me. Why would He do this for me? But when I look at it through faith, I see the debt, I see the payment. and I'm so thankful. So surprised!
"Let no debt remain outstanding except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law." (Rom. 13:8)
I have talked to two friends today who reached out to others this weekend to share the joy and surprise of God's grace. Yes. It's accepting His grace by faith and turning around and offering it to others. Telling them that even though their gift card is useless, their bill is covered. Paid. That we understand how they feel cause we were on the street begging and God intervened and paid our debt. That Jesus is the definition of "surprise" and faith is not faith if you can wrap your brain around it.
I think I just preached a sermon and I'm really sorry about that. I got carried away. May you have a blessed Easter full of the surprise of Jesus!