Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb.
11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. 13 They said to her,“Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14 Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus.15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?”Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic,[b] “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her.
In this mornings Easter Service, our Pastor, Bro. Stuart started out by reading the above passage from the Bible. As he read, two things struck me that I hadn’t thought of before:
#1. She didn’t remember what Jesus had promised them. She was shocked to find the tomb empty. She thought someone had done something to His body. She never gave thought to the fact that Jesus had told them exactly what would happen and that he would rise again. All she could see is the circumstances in front of her. All she knew is there was an empty tomb, the body of Jesus was gone, she couldn’t anoint His body, she couldn’t follow through on her plan, and now she had no idea what to do next.
Sounds familiar doesn’t it? Jesus promises us throughout His Word that:
He will never leave us nor forsake us
He will comfort us
He will provide for us
He will protect us
He will strengthen us
He will give us victory over death
His Grace is sufficient
The list of promises continues throughout scripture. Yet, in spite of those promises, we still struggle believing when we are in the middle of something we don’t understand or can’t comprehend. We automatically look for every answer but God. We look at each angle except one that involves putting our trust in Him. We do just like Mary. We agonize over what we’ve lost; where we are; what’s going to happen; etc. All we see is our circumstances. We don’t see God at work.
#2. At that exact moment of hopelessness; helplessness; confusion; sorrow and tears flowing; Jesus showed up. Jesus could have been out having a celebration proving his resurrection; He could have been leading a parade to show God’s power; He could have been going from house to house saying “I told you so”; etc. However, He recognized that in that moment, Mary needed His presence; she needed His reassurance that His Word was true; and that He had not left her. He was right behind her and she didn’t even know it.
I’m so thankful that in those times of despair, frustration, anger, sorrow, etc. that God chooses THOSE times to show up in our lives. A friend of mine from Little Rock(Jason H.), always says, “God we need you to show up big in this situation.” or “God showed up in a big way in that occurrence.” That’s exactly what God does. In spite of our unbelief; in spite of our refusal to trust; in spite of our pride in trying to “fix” things ourselves; in spite of our thinking God has failed us; God shows up EXACTLY when we need Him too and He always knows exactly what to say to calm our fears and reassure us that He’s still in control. When we least expect it, God will be right beside us; behind us; lifting us up; holding our hand; sharing our burdens, sorrows, etc.
This Easter Sunday, I’m so thankful that the tomb is empty! That we serve a RISEN Savior! That He saved me in spite of my running from Him over many years. That He provides for me grace, hope, encouragement, protection and yes, even chastisement when needed. He is truly sufficient for EACH and EVERY part of our lives.
If you haven’t stopped to thank Him for all He’s done … do it today …
If you haven’t accepted Him as your Lord and Savior … do it today …
Happy Easter Everyone!