Sunday, March 27, 2016

Comfort My People

Why is it that whenever I face a crisis, Easter becomes more vibrant, more personal?  Once again a tradgedy visits my extended family and I am cast into the story, not as an observer, but as a full fledged participator.  Last time it was a death.  This time an illness like nothing we've ever seen before, one entwined with intricate webs of confusion and exasperation.  We struggle and strive, seeking solutions but find ourselves stuck fast, immovable. Baffled, we face reality and ask, "Who will remove the stone for us?"

Mary comes to the tomb looking for the body of Jesus.  She cannot see past her pain.  It makes her world so very very small.  Caught in the fog, her mind is clouded and she cannot make sense of it all.

"Why have they taken the body of my Lord?" and "If you have taken Him away, tell me where you have put Him?" she demands through her tears. (John 20:11-16)

Then she hears her name.  "Mary!"

He knows my name,
He sees each tear that falls...
And hears me when I call...

Nothing escapes God's notice, no, not even this.  I don't understand, but I know the One who calls me. And He.Is.Trustworthy. Period. I have to believe the very real possibility that God has deliberately designated this storm for our family.  He knows the waters are dark and choppy, fraught with monstrous waves and relentless wind. All our striving at the oars is futility, and my heart cries out, "Jesus, come to us!  Come walking on these waters!"

Jesus came to Mary, but not in the way she expected.  Supposing Him to be the gardener, she did not even recognize Him . . . until she heard her name.  Then, at once, she knew who was speaking, not the gardener, but Jesus Himself.  I know the presence of Jesus is with us always, yet, sometimes He remains hidden for "without faith it is impossible to please Him."  (Heb. 11:6)

The tomb was opened, the stone removed, not to let Jesus out, but to let us in.  He invites us to come and experience His resurrection power.  The storms are His invitation to draw near and trust, to comfort, comfort my people.

Because He lives I can face tomorrow, 
Because He lives, all fear is gone,
Because I know He holds the future...

Instead of pounding against the obstacles, I step back, and looking out, try to grasp the bigger picture. God may not want me to push through for answers, but rather instead, come alongside, to walk this journey in support and comfort of another. When pain causes our world to shrink, a friend can widen our perspective and make it big. There are smooth plains beyond these stones.  I just need eyes to see.

Jesus is not a ghost, illusive, impersonal, and untangible.  No, He is seated at the right hand of God where He waits for His enemies to be made a footstool for His feet.  In the meantime, He makes perfect forever, those who are being made holy . . . all because of our risen Savior. (Heb. 10:12-14)  By faith I will wait for Him and trust.  Surely, He's got this!

Thou, O Lord, are a shield about me
You're my glory and the lifter of my head.  (Psa. 3:3)

Hallelujah!  He is risen! 

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