Jimmy is a very experienced and seasoned duck hunter. He’s also taken his share of deer. He, however, has never had the thrill of seeing a strutting tom walk in front of his shotgun- that is until the other day. I happened to be with him when he wrote this new chapter. That morning, a vocal gobbler seemed less than 150 yards away. I was surprised how quickly we were able to work a bird that we actually had a chance of calling in. I was the caller, and while he responded to my call, he never made the move our way. And after a thirty minute back and forth, the place went quiet. So, I just let him know, every ten minutes or so, that this lonesome (and fake) hen was hanging around. More than an hour passed with nothing. But about ten minutes before we were leaving, Jimmy noticed this bright red, white, and blue gobbler come sauntering in. I quickly set up my camera to film while trying to coach my hunter to be patient as this beautiful tom strutted in closer and closer to our decoys. I could hear Jimmy’s breathing get sporadic, but I knew he would make a good shot on the bird. After closing the distance to about twenty yards, he took the shot and his trophy hit the ground. I got out of the blind as fast as I could to jump on this bird to eliminate any chances of him getting away. And the morning that started with unrealized hope ended with understood certainty and with a new story to share.
A few weeks ago, Christians all over the world celebrated Easter. The story of Easter is also the story of how a morning that started with unrealized hope for Jesus’ followers would end with understood certainty, and a new story to share. The days and hours after Jesus was crucified were filled with despair. His followers had sensed how close his kingdom really was. They had experienced his nearness and the nearness of his reign. There’s no doubt the anticipation of his plan was in every believer. And then something happened that no one expected. He died, and all the world went quiet. In fact, his followers returned to their places and to their normal life with nothing to talk about except for what might have been. But just when no one expected, a victory took place. It was the certainty of the physical Jesus. And over 500 people witnessed his appearing. And they began to tell a new story. This story was not about Jesus’ message or the miracles he performed, but about a resurrection. It was about someone who was dead, coming back to life. Does it sound strange? Ludicrous? Impossible? It did to them as well. And yet the proof was on the ground – not lying dead but living and moving and reminding them of his previous promise to rise again. And today, for every follower of Christ, our story is not mainly one of doctrines and deeds, but of a God/Man who predicted his own death, burial, and resurrection, and pulled it off.