Years ago, I served a church with a daycare and a preschool. Each week I had the privilege of reading a story to the four- and five-year-olds.

On the week of Easter, I read them the Easter story. And one little boy in the group had not heard the Gospel narrative. He was rapt with attention, and he kept leaning in closer and closer as I continued to read.

I had chosen what I thought was a child-friendly version of the Easter story, but it illustrated the crown of thorns, which was placed on Jesus’ head and Jesus on the cross.

As I saw this little boy’s eyes flooding with tears, I wanted to stop and say, “Oh, don’t cry. It all works out in the end.”

But I knew he needed to hear the rest of the story and experience the Good News for himself. When I finished reading, the little boy spoke up.

In a somber and surprised tone, he said, “Wow. I didn’t see that coming.”

When it comes to the resurrection story, we know the end of the story, and we take the ending for granted. We know death does not have the final say, and the stone cannot entomb the power of the Risen Christ. We know that if God was able to raise Jesus from the dead, nothing is impossible for the One who is the author and creator of our lives.

But we do not know the endings of our stories, and we don’t always know that things will work out. And like those walking on the road to Emmaus, we do not often recognize Christ even when he is in our midst.

Yet, as an Easter people, may we know and remember that the power of God can still transform our lives in surprising ways. Whatever you are dealing with now, remember that your story is still unfolding. God is not finished yet. God is still walking alongside you. And I imagine that as you experience the hope and grace of our Lord, you too will be able to proclaim, “Wow, I didn't see that coming.”


Rev. Shana Johnson, ISC Conference Minister