History is full of astounding reversals. Astounding reversals require, almost by definition, an expectation of outcome. We have to be pretty sure that something is going to be a certain way in order to be astounded when it turns out differently.
War, sports, politics, dramas, our own lives — they are all full of astounding reversals. We’ve all experienced these. Some reversals are of greater magnitude than others, but we all know what it feels like when something dramatically and unexpectedly changes.
Astounding reversals are found throughout the Bible, too. Most of the tales of triumph and enduring faith start out pretty bleak. They begin with things like Joseph being hauled away to Egypt, a captive. Moses, once among royalty, running into the wilderness as a fugitive. Peter retreating to Galilee after denying the Lord. Saul, murdering Christians. Shammah, abandoned by his brethren in the millet field. Yeshua, hanging on a cross and buried in a tomb.
Isaiah, foretelling the astounding reversal of the Gospel, declared, “He will swallow up death in victory” (Isaiah 25:8). Christ died, but His resurrection swallowed that death and turned it into victory. And His resurrection swallows up our death also and turns it into victory.
All the characters mentioned above had to die to themselves to find spiritual life. Through the process of “dying” their lives changed, and they experienced reversals that would affect the course of history in significant ways.
We are also called to die to ourselves so that we, too, can live. Through submission to the will of God and the power of the Holy Spirit, we are called to embrace an astounding reversal of our own that denies the very power of death and reroutes the trajectory of our lives.
The reversals don’t end there. Maybe we’re facing something that seems all but certain to end poorly, whether it be financial, spiritual, or relational. It always has before, so why not this time? Why not? Because the Gospel is still at work! The resurrection power of God is not intended to be relegated to certain corners of our lives whose outcomes seem expected. It’s intended to cut through death, swallow it up, and deliver victory in its many different forms.
As counter-intuitive as it seems, as Believers, we are called to expect astounding reversals in our own experience and in the world around us. That’s the role of faith and hope. It keeps us looking for the resurrection power to show up and make a difference.
Let’s go forth this week wielding the truth of the Gospel and believing that sweet victory is just one astounding reversal away.