Anna and I left this past Tuesday to visit her family in Arkansas. I haven’t met most of her family out west, so we decided to spend a few days with her grandma. As we walked through the Charlotte airport, we noticed a Shake Shack, so of course, we had to stop for a shake! After waiting in a long line, we finally got to the cashier – who promptly told us that they weren’t doing any floats, shakes, or ice cream… I’m sure you can imagine how disappointed we were!
The past year has been full of little disappointments like this. We hoped to be married at Campbell, but their facilities were closed down; we hoped to have over 400 people at our wedding, but COVID restrictions greatly reduced our numbers; I hoped to have “Christmas at First Baptist 2020,” but we had to do it virtually. I’m sure that you can think of many more examples over the past year!
The Messianic Jews around the time of Jesus had to deal with many disappointments as well. After many generations in exile, they were allowed to return home… only to find that their land was ruled by the Romans. When Jesus was born, many expected this Davidic descendant to conquer the nations and lead them to military victory. We can imagine their disappointment when that did not happen!
Even though Jesus was not what everyone expected, Jesus did unite the people. According to Ephesians, Jesus united all people – the Jews and the Gentiles. As Paul told the Ephesians, Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household,built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit (Ephesians 2:19-22).
When we arrived in Arkansas, it was pouring down rain (and had been for the past few days!). The next day, as we walked around her grandma’s property, Anna made the comment, “Everything is so green!” We enjoyed the beauty of God’s creation, and I finally started to relax. We didn’t get our milkshake, we missed some family at our wedding, but we are happy now. God continues to bless us, even if it’s in ways that we don’t expect. We are so thankful.
By Steven Thomason, Minister of Traditional Worship