You never know what’s round the corner. When people say this, more often than not some bad life-changing event has happened that was totally unforeseen. Often there’s some advice attached to the saying such as – “You never know what’s round the corner, so make the most of your health while you have it.”
Harold Macmillan is famously believed to have told a journalist that what a politician fears most is “Events, dear boy, events”. Things that happen outside your control can bring all kind of unexpected storms, so make haste to get your laws passed by Parliament while the political weather is set fair.
Of course, this is only stating the obvious. Something even more obvious was said by the economist John Maynard Keynes: “In the long run we are all dead.”
The question for any human being is how to live in the light of the twin truths that something totally unexpected may happen tomorrow, and that in the long run we are all dead.
The trouble may be that most of us shy away from these stark truths because they remind us that we are not in total control of our lives. Far from living in the light of them, we actually hide away from them.
The Good News is that we don’t need to. Something totally unexpected may indeed happen tomorrow, but it won’t take God by surprise. In the long run we’re all dead, but God has made death the gateway to new life with him for ever. This is our resurrection hope and the foundation of all Christian faith. Nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
In the days leading up to Good Friday, we are invited to walk with Jesus to his death and our death. After the waiting, we are invited to celebrate with Mary and the disciples his astounding new birth. His resurrection and our resurrection.
The Holy Week walk with Jesus is a pattern for our pilgrimage through life. With Jesus, we are invited to face our worst fears and trust in the good purposes of God. The fullness of life which Jesus brings is not a hiding away from suffering and death in some religious bubble, but meeting them with God-given courage and strength, trusting there is light in the darkness.
Sometimes it does feel like we are groping in the darkness for the hand of God. How blessed are we when we have a companion, a friend, a neighbour, who can hold our hand in our troubles and allow us to lean on their faith.
As Richard Gillard’s wonderful song reminds us:
We are pilgrims on a journey.
We are travellers on the road.
We are here to help each other
walk the mile and bear the load.
Have a great Easter.