Today is Palm Sunday! A day when Jesus triumphantly returned to Jerusalem and the people rejoiced. They proclaimed “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord” (Luke 19:38). They were so excited! And why wouldn’t they be? They had huge expectations for their King.
But their expectations didn’t line up with what Jesus had planned. And in less than a week, they hung Him out to dry for it. Literally. Could we be any more human? LOL It’s like they were all Good Cop/Bad Cop from the Lego Movie. Sweet and helpful one minute, and 1000% Bad Cop the next.
Problem is, they’d waited so long for their salvation to come, they’d built up what they thought it would be. They had so many rules for their heavenly salvation, they had no idea that was in jeopardy. They weren’t looking for a spiritual savior. They were looking for a worldly savior. A Messiah who would save them from their earthly troubles. But Jesus doesn’t ever promise this world will be without troubles. In fact, He says quite the opposite (John 16:3).
I’ve talked about Expectation before, how it is the killer of all things, especially relationships. But this is shifting sand, isn’t it? Because we are told to pray expectantly, aren’t we? That we’ll never see a miracle if we aren’t looking for it. So…what gives, Jesus?
These people prayed for a savior, You showed up, how could they NOT rejoice? The problem isn’t in their rejoicing though. It’s in their devastation as the week went on. As He didn’t do what they decided He should.
Whew. Been there. I’ve railed at Jesus more times than I can count. I’m a bit bratty by nature. I can own that. I’m also pretty transparent. If I don’t like something you’re doing, you’ll know about it pretty quickly. I’m the same with Jesus. I have no problem telling Him to straighten up and fly right because this situation blows. I think He takes it in stride.
2020 was filled with unmet expectation, wasn’t it? My husband was slated to upgrade in October of 2020. It meant our debt would be paid off by January 2021, and we could have a down payment for a larger home saved up by 2022. Then, COVID-19 hit, and he was off for 8 months. All prospects of upgrade were out the window, and instead of paying off our debt, it grew exponentially. It was pretty disappointing to be honest. 2020 dawned with possibilities, and each one of them was crushed under the ugly foot of the Rona.
But, in all the let downs, we have a lot to be grateful for from 2020. Dan didn’t lose his job (which was a distinct possibility for about 6 months, thanks Rona no one likes you). Dan was home more than he ever has been, and he got to be part of moments like Grace learning to ride her bike on two wheels, and Night Shift – a weekly field trip he and Grace took after dark to search for creatures, and card games, and virtual school (Lord Jesus, please do not ever bring virtual school upon our heads again, we learned to be grateful for regular school I promise), and bedtime, and all the small moments. It was so wonderful, I was sad when he went back to work in January. Except for the whole we need money thing. Ya know. That. It was nice to have another set of hands. It was even nicer to have someone to go through all that with. Someone who was home.
Look how gracious I make myself look. Like all of 2020 I appreciated having my husband home, and it was sunshine and roses, and we barely noticed when his upgrade didn’t come. BAHAHA. ::wipes tear:: Oh, I kill myself. No, we panicked. There were days we were so untrusting of Jesus, we looked for work. Jesus made promises to prosper us and not to harm us, just like He did to the people in Jerusalem, and they didn’t trust Him to keep them, so they turned their backs on Him.
I can relate to this in a big way. Everyone loves to judge the people of Jerusalem. But I get it. I feel you guys. Unmet expectations are a tough pill to swallow. And Lord knows I don’t do it gracefully. I choke, and gasp, and rage, and claw. But it never does any good. My reaction doesn’t change my circumstance. And neither did theirs.
They remained persecuted by Rome, AND murdered Jesus. Talk about a bad day. This is like Suez Canal messed up.
The only thing that does change, is my peace. On the odd occasion when I have calmly accepted a course correction, as my husband would call it, it’s been amazing. A non-event really. A moment in my life that wasn’t laser focused on the chaos, but instead the joyful moments of the every day. It’s restorative. But it isn’t natural for me. So I work at it. All the dang time. It’s hard work, but in the one day out of 365 I get it right, it’s so worth it. I go to bed without laying awake worrying, and for me, that’s a massive win all by itself.
So, on this Palm Sunday, I choose joy. But not because I expect Jesus to solve all my problems. Because He solved the biggest problem.