Monday, March 29, 2010


Sometimes life can give you whiplash. One minute everything's going fine, and the next thing you know disaster strikes. A period of misery is interrupted by an unexpected burst of pure joy. It's easy to see why some people think our lives are ruled by chance—everything can change so quickly. Our lives can be as unpredictable as the weather, and we never know for sure what's going to happen next.

Even Jesus wasn't immune to life's whiplash (although he at least saw it coming). Yesterday as I sat in church, I was struck once again by the jarring transition between Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem and his crucifixion only days later. Palm Sunday drives the dichotomy home—we start out singing hosannas, but ten minutes later we're listening to an account of the Passion. The service is even stopped in the middle so the paraments on the altar can be changed from Lent colors to Good Friday colors. The congregation is unceremoniously thrust from celebration into mourning and expected to keep up.

In the eyes of the people, Jesus went from a celebrity to a detested blasphemer in only a few days. If that can happen to the Son of God, imagine how much more quickly our own fortunes can change. When I wake up each morning, all sorts of things could happen to me before I go back to bed at the end of the day. I could find miraculous joy or face unexpected sorrow. Really, there's only one thing I can count on, and that's the same thing Jesus counted on—God.

Jesus's life might have changed a great deal in his last week, but God's love and plan for him did not change. I have the same promise that God will stay with me no matter what happens in my life. Things will change, but God will not. He is a constant, and He is always working for my good, even when life feels out of control. God was with Jesus when he rode into Jerusalem, and He was with Jesus when he hung dying on the cross. Likewise, God is with me every day of my life, looking for ways to help me face the challenges that come my way and ready to bring me home when it's all over. No amount of whiplash can shake God loose, and that's a comforting thought.

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