The Unexpected Grace: Embracing the Changes of Life

Rev. Bradley Swire   -  

In the unpredictability of life, we are often met with moments that take us by surprise, altering our plans and setting us on paths we never anticipated. These moments, though unexpected, carry with them a profound grace that has the power to transform our very understanding of faith, fear, and the future.

One Sunday, as I prepared for a typical morning service, I received a call that upended my day’s plans. Kate, bearing news of our unborn child, Karra Faith, needing to be delivered three weeks early, changed the course of that day. In an instant, my focus shifted entirely from my prepared activities to the wellbeing of my wife and child. This wasn’t what I had planned, yet it was a moment filled with grace.

This theme of unexpected change and the grace that follows resonates deeply with the Easter story, particularly as we reflect on Matthew 28:1-10. The women who went to the tomb that morning expected to find Jesus’ body; instead, they found an empty tomb and an angel proclaiming, “He is not here, for he has been raised.” This revelation was a significant deviation from their plans—a moment where divine grace intersected with human expectation, transforming everything.

The emotions that accompany such unexpected changes are diverse and intense. From uneasiness to fear, these feelings are a natural response to the unknown. Yet, the women who witnessed the empty tomb and encountered the risen Christ were also filled with great joy. Their fear was met with Jesus’ comforting command: “Do not be afraid.”

This command, repeated by Jesus on numerous occasions, was never about dismissing the reality of fear. Instead, it was an invitation to trust in God, to focus on His presence and promises. Proverbs 3:5-6 echoes this sentiment, reminding us to trust in the Lord with all our hearts and not to rely on our own understanding.

The resurrection narrative brings together fear and joy in a paradox that defines our faith. The joy of Christ’s victory over death and the fear of the implications of his teachings propel us into a life of discipleship that is both challenging and rewarding. The call to follow Jesus is a call to embrace the hard work of living out the Gospel, knowing that in doing so, we reveal the kingdom of God.

As we navigate the uncertainties of life, let us remember the empty tomb and the risen Lord who greets us with the words, “Do not be afraid.” Let this assurance inspire us to turn away from our fears, not by denying them, but by choosing to trust in God’s guidance. In doing so, we can move forward with confidence, knowing that our paths are directed towards joy and fulfillment.

What fears are you holding onto today? I encourage you to reflect on them in the light of the resurrection story. Let the unexpected changes in life be moments where you experience God’s grace anew, leading you to trust in Him more deeply.

May the peace of the risen Christ be with you, guiding you through the changes and challenges, and reminding you always, “Do not be afraid.”