Speak Eagle

Surprise!

I hide in the hallway, my heart beating fervently with eager anticipation.   One woman announces, “She’s here!” A few dozen people scurry to their hiding places in the living room.  We hear the door open, shut.  And then my best buddy from college walks into her house, nearly blown over by her friends yelling, “Surprise!”  She is shocked, thrilled, giggly, with “No way!” and “How did you guys pull this off?”  For a 40th birthday, it is a sweet surprise.

But she hasn’t seen me yet, the unseen guest who was invited to fly across the country for this very moment.

Like me, I think Jesus loved surprises.  Turning water into wine, healing withered hands and lame limbs, stopping a storm and walking on water- He was the King of Surprises.

And then came Easter.  Imagine Mary Magdalene before dawn that morning.  Heavy with grief, tears sliding down her cheeks as she makes her way to the tomb.  Spices in hand, she hopes to find someone who will roll away the huge stone so that she can anoint the broken body of her Savior.  Her Savior.  The man who had literally saved her by banishing seven demons from her body.

empty tomb
The tomb comes into view.  Wait.  What is this?  A gaping hole where the stone had been?  The body of her Lord had better still be there.  Unless…someone has stolen Him!  No!  She runs in, breathless, drops the spices to search frantically through the empty linens laying on the sepulcher.  Fresh tears.  Who could have done this?

Angels in white ask, “Why are you crying?”

She forces out the words between sobs, “They have taken away my Lord…and…and I don’t know where they have laid Him.”

She turns around and sees the gardener. He also asks, “Why are you crying?” and adds, “Who are you looking for?”

By now, she is a mess of tears, fear, darting eyes and frenzied hands.  “Sir, if you’ve taken Him away, tell me where you’ve put Him and I will go and get Him.”

And then comes the moment.  “Mary.”  She looks up.  Her eyes meet His.  And she sees.  It’s not the gardener.  It’s HIM.  Her Savior.  And He is ALIVE!

He smiles.  “Surprise!”

And Mary’s dreams of finding His body that morning come to life- literally.   Exceedingly abundant beyond all she could have asked or imagined.  She has found her Jesus- ALIVE!

As for me, I’m still hidden in the hallway.  My friend’s 5-year old son can’t stand it anymore.  He grabs his mom’s hand, “Mommy, you might want to come down the hallway.”  He leads her in my direction.  I step out.  She squeals with shock and delight, we throw our arms around each other.  And hug.  And hug again.  And again.

This Easter, I pray every surprise you experience in life will remind you of the greatest surprise of all time- when God breathed LIFE into what was dead.  Giving life to our souls now and for eternity as we put our faith in the risen Christ!

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Happy Easter!

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