Right after World War II, a U.S. Army officer and his wife were stationed in Japan. That country had been devastated by the war. The post-war economy was in shambles. Unemployment approached 60%. People came to the Army wife’s door daily looking for work.
One man said that he could do wonders for her garden if she would only give him a chance. So, for the first time in her life, this young Army wife hired a gardener. He spoke no English, but the wife, through sign language and pencil and paper gave him instructions about where to plant, prune, and pamper her garden. He listened politely and followed her instructions exactly. The garden emerged as the finest in the neighborhood. When she finally realized that her new gardener knew far more about the matter than she, the wife stopped giving him directions and let him freely care for the garden. It was magnificent.
Then one day the gardener came with an interpreter who expressed the appreciation but the regrets of the gardener. “He will no longer be able to care for your garden. He must leave.”
The wife expressed her regrets and thanked him through the interpreter for making hers such a fine garden. Out of politeness, she asked the interpreter, “Where is he going?” The interpreter replied that the gardener was returning to his old job as the Professor of Horticulture at the University of Tokyo. I can imagine, can’t you, the look that must have been on that Army wife’s face when she discovered, upon his leaving, that her gardener was a university professor.
Things are not always as we expect. The disciples experienced this at the time of the ascension of Jesus. This whole event, death, burial resurrection and now ascension, wasn’t what they thought it would be. Here’s a little glimpse into the confusion.
They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
Things are not always as they should be.