It’s almost April and my backyard still looks like a frozen tundra. I had hoped for sunshine and warmth, but it seems like the weather missed that memo. Life is often like this, though; we set our hopes high, only to be disappointed by reality. Whether it’s the weather, our personal aspirations, or the way things unfold in the world, we face setbacks and disillusionment. It can be a challenge to not allow disappointments to create cold hearts within us and leave us with a despairing outlook on life.
Hopes and dreams aren’t bad things! But they need to be placed in proper perspective, because the temporary things won’t ultimately satisfy our deep longings. Our good God has everlasting joy in store for us at his right hand, and when we have that eternal perspective, it makes all the difference as we hope for day-to-day things.
We can be short-sighted though, because what we think we need may not be what God knows we ultimately need. Take Palm Sunday, for example. The Israelites were hoping Jesus, the promised Messiah, would deliver them from Roman oppression. But after riding into Jerusalem on a humble little donkey and then getting killed by the Romans instead, it must have been surprising and confusing.
Even Jesus’ closest friends and followers were bewildered by his prediction that he was about to be tortured and killed. Imagine their turmoil and feelings of loss when they locked themselves in a room to process what they had witnessed – the person they had placed their hopes in had died a horrible death on a cross.
Little did they know Jesus had a better plan in store. A plot twist they never saw coming. If he had just come to overthrow the Roman Empire, they’d have been freed from their earthly shackles but been still stuck in spiritual bondage. However, Jesus’ death and resurrection brought ultimate redemption and eternal deliverance from sin and death.
As we approach Easter week I’m praying that studying Jesus’ last week in Jerusalem will thaw some of the coldness in our souls that can come from life’s unmet expectations. Let’s celebrate Palm Sunday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday in anticipation that God’s plan will exceed our wildest dreams and result in everlasting joy and happiness.