Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Don't Miss the Miracle
But Mary stood outside the tomb weeping. As she wept, she knelt to look into the tomb and saw two angels sitting there, dressed in white, one at the head, the other at the foot of where Jesus' body had been laid. They said to her, "Woman, why do you weep?"
"They took my Master," she said, "and I don't know where they put him." After she said this, she turned away and saw Jesus standing there. But she didn't recognize him. John 20:11-14
I'm sitting here struggling a bit.
I've reveled in the glory of the empty tomb. I've sung songs of worship and praise. I've danced with joy and shouted His name. But now the church service is passed. The food that took almost two hours to prepare and then consumed in 10 minutes is put away. The house is quiet and still.
And I struggle.
I miss my boys.
Holidays and celebrations are to be shared.
I could easily get overwhelmed today by grief, spiral into sadness and self focus. I could dwell on everything I've lost.
But this morning I read John 20, the story of the resurrection.
As I read the familiar story I was struck this time by Mary's response to discovering Jesus' missing body.
Verse 1 shares that "Early in the morning on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone was moved away from the entrance. She ran at once to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, breathlessly panting, 'They took the Master from the tomb. We don't know where they've put him.'" MSG
I relate to Mary's heart that morning. I often visit the boys' graveside just to pull a few weeds and place some flowers.... a chance to do SOMETHING one more time for them...a chance to express my love in action. I'm sure that longing filled Mary's heart that morning as she went to minister one more time to the one she loved. In verse 15 she states, "tell me where you put him so I can care for him." Thus, her despair when she found the body gone.
As the chapter continues we see Peter and John race to the tomb and find the burial clothes. But then they leave.
Verse 11 continues the story, "But Mary stood outside the tomb weeping. As she wept, she knelt to look into the tomb and saw two angels sitting there, dressed in white, one at the head, the other at the foot of where Jesus' body had been laid. They said to her, 'Woman, why do you weep?'
'They took my Master,' she said, 'and I don't know where they put him.' After she said this, she turned away and saw Jesus standing there. But she didn't recognize him."
As I read these words this morning the thought came to my mind, Mary is so paralyzed with grief that she doesn't even react to seeing angels. Jesus also appears and she doesn't recognize him.
Mary is so paralyzed with her grief that she's missing the miracles.
That is what keeps me afloat. I don't want to miss the miracles.
I have to choose where my thoughts will go. Yes, my house lacks the joy of sharing this present moment with my boys. But my boys' resurrection celebration I cannot even fathom. Their joy, their peace, their wholeness I would not deny them. I must acknowledge my grief and pain, but balance it with truth and hope.
Jesus' resurrection was the first of many miracles. His demonstration of supreme power created a domino effect- Jesus is alive, sins are forgiven, Peter is restored, the disciples' lives are changed, the Holy Spirit comes at Pentecost, thousands come to God, the church grows, expands, and grace and freedom become available to all both then and through all the ages to come.
When I choose to balance my grief with truth, I'm able to see as well, the miracles of Jesus' work through our situation... the boys are alive! The separation is temporary. In the neediness of grief, I lean on Christ and find not only strength but also forgiveness and grace and freedom from past bondages and habits and lifestyles. My life is changed. My husband's life is changed. The Holy Spirit works to teach us and use us. Our lives touch others and people come to God. The church grows, expands and grace and freedom become available to all, both now and through the ages to come.
Grief stricken, Mary didn't notice the presence of angels. But Mary stayed. Mary kept looking. And even though she didn't recognize him, Jesus woke her from her grief so that she wouldn't miss the miracles.
In verse 15, Jesus speaks to her. Mary replies, "thinking that he was the gardener, said, 'Mister, if you took him, tell me where you put him so I can care for him.'
Jesus said, 'Mary.'
Turning to face him, she said in Hebrew, 'Rabboni!' meaning 'Teacher!'"
Like Mary, I want to keep searching. I want to turn to God. I want to seek God and all that he is doing.
So today, I will balance my grief with truth. I will cling to the hope of the morning even as I endure the emptiness of my home.
I will turn to Jesus and rely on the power and presence of the resurrection to see me through the loss and loneliness of the present.
What grief do you face today? What trouble clouds your horizon? What challenge paralyzes? Bring whatever it is to the power and presence of the resurrection. Bring it to Jesus and watch for the miracles, the power of God working to change lives and bring freedom.
Don't let your grief make you miss the miracles.