I was in a seafood restaurant on vacation and the placemat had pictures of different fish on it. You can probably tell that I’m not into fine dining while on vacation since I mentioned placemats. We had our kids with us, and who needs anything better than plastic utensils when your kids are with you? I don’t care how old they are because, let’s be honest, even if they’re adults, they’re waiting for you to reach for the check.
Back to the placemat. There was a small fish all the way on one side of the placemat followed by a larger fish with its mouth open followed by a larger fish with its mouth opened until all the way on the other side a humongous fish waits to swallow everything. Now I don’t know if the fish kingdom is really like that, but it made sense. Big things eat smaller things. Big things make smaller things disappear.
It has always worked like that with bad things. Big bad things eat small bad things.
When a dad turns to his child who is crying because they couldn’t have a soda with dinner and says, “I’ll give you something to cry about,” he is reminding them that big bad things eat small bad things. I have a headache that really bugs me until I get into a car accident, and the headache seems to disappear. It never works the other way around. I never get into an accident and have it remind me that I had a headache earlier.
But I just recently realized it doesn’t just have to be a big bad thing that swallows a small bad thing. It could be a big good thing too.
I’ve been preparing for a sermons series and have been thinking a lot about heaven. Heaven is the dwelling place of God. Being in the presence of God will be like being plunged into an ocean of goodness. When Jesus burst out of the tomb, he was making a statement. It was the reverse of the dad who says, “I’ll give you something to cry about.” Jesus was saying, “No matter what is going on or has gone on, I’m giving you something to shout about, to laugh about, to rejoice about.” Jesus was putting himself on the placemat.
I don’t know what’s going on in your life but this I know. You can start on one side of the placemat with headaches and move all the way to other side to miscarriages and divorce and death and then see the fish that dwarfs all the other fish. Jesus is coming, and when he does he will swallow all the pain and hurt and death that has ever been. He swallows it whole. The biggest good thing can make the biggest bad thing disappear completely. That’s the truth.