A mid-week Lenten Message
When I was growing up, the women in my family would have these responses
to my questions that, at that age.. made no sense to me.
Like with many families, there are phrases that get handed down from generation to generation.
I remember once, in elementary school, we had these programs we put on for parents and family members.
One year, the program was about bugs, and my mom made me this amazing butterfly costume.
I was so excited.
I remember asking my grandma days before the program if she was going to be there.
Her response still rings in my mind to this day.
Looking up at her so very excited,
"If the Lord is willin', the devil don't care, and the creek don't rise."
And then she turned her back to what she was doing.
That was her entire answer.
I remember thinking... WHAT?
Is that a yes?
Is it a no?
Why does the devil care?
And this is why I spend so much of the Gospel identifying with the disciples.
They want to get it right.
They keep trying.
Only to get met with answers that seem to be written in some kind of code.
And this is why I find the end of tonight's passage kind of funny, and absolutely relatable.
Jesus lays all of his cards out on the table.
I came from God to the world.
Now I'm going from the world back to God.
And the disciples seem to collectively say,
Ohhhhhhhhhhh. Now we get it.
Why didn't you say so?
When my grandma told me that she would come to my program as long as the
Lord was willing,
the devil didn't care,
and the creek didn't rise,
she was being really honest.
She was saying that while she wanted to be there,
that sometimes things outside of our control happen.
She didn't flat-out say yes, because that wasn't a promise she could keep,
and she knew that.
She knew that from 50+ years of experience of promising yes,
and then life getting in the way.
Understanding her answer was anything but light hearted.
And it was much bigger than an eight year old could really understand.
Sometimes a decoded answer does more than answer your question.
It opens up a whole other can of worms.
Jesus explains what happens next as plainly as he can,
and the disciples finally get it,
but there had to be a moment after their understanding
that was just sadness.
And then questions fueled by sadness;
Wait, you're leaving?
What happens to us?
What about all the good we've done?
Will you be ok?
Through all of this, though,
we have to keep in mind the overarching promise Gad has
that transcends the Old and New Testaments;
and that is: that God loves God's people.
This is the promise that brings us from Eden, through the Exodus,
from Christmas to the Cross.
That even when the answers are sad, the news is good.
Jesus says, don't feel sad for me.
It may look like I'm alone, but I'm not alone.
God is with me.
And that should give you peace, because God is with, and I am with you.
And the world may persecute you...
But I have conquered the world.
If the Lord is willin'
the devil don't care,
and the crick don't rise.
She was telling me that nothing within her control would stop her from being there for me.
That was the promise she was making me.