(Matthew 27:55-61, 28:1; Mark 15:40-47, 16:1-3: Luke 23:49-56, 24:1,10; John 19:25, 20:1-16)
The day of the crucifixion is a dark day indeed for Mary Magdalene and her friends. Together they witness every heart-stabbing moment – from the brutal suffering on the cross to the finality of the burial. It’s over. There’s nothing to be done.
What do you do in life’s darkest moments?
Do you don “sack cloth and ashes” to alert the world that you are super miserable?
Or do you withdraw and bury your head beneath your pillow?
Unsettling, dark times can be overwhelming and overpowering. Sometimes the path of surrender is compelling: crack open, allow the misery to ooze out, watch your shell disintegrate into a puff of dismal smoke, and let it just. be. over.
If you’ve been there, you are not alone. It’s part of walking around on this earth. The truth is that no matter how popular the cliché, it’s not “all good.” Sometimes it’s just plain bad, and that’s where Mary Magdalene finds herself. It’s bad.
Where’s the help?
Where’s the hope?
Hang on . . .
The help is here – in the two simple things Mary Magdalene chooses to do in the darkness:
She stays in community. Mary Magdalene is found with friends, talking things over and reasoning things out.
For me this can look like attending my sweet caregivers’ group. We spend time talking about our common struggles, but we spend so much more time laughing, hugging, and offering words of encouragement.
She does what she can. Mary Magdalene can’t change the tide of events so she focuses on the practical things she can do. Without waiting for the light of day, she acts in the darkness. She purchases embalming spices and ointments and does the best she can in overwhelming circumstances.
There are plenty of things I cannot fix or control. My husband’s disease has a way of acting on its own without my approval, so for me this looks like staying the course and taking care of practical needs – doing the best I can in trying times.
And the hope is here – in what happens next:
Early on the first day of the week, while it is still dark, Mary Magdalene goes to the tomb and sees that the stone has been removed from the entrance. (John 20:1)
Did you catch that?
The impossible is happening while it is still dark.
Then, as the light of Easter dawns, the miracle opens into full and majestic view. Jesus appears. The darkness is dispelled. The truth of Jesus’ presence washes over Mary Magdalene’s heart in gentle waves of assurance.
It was true for Mary Magdalene and it’s true for you and me. Jesus is present and His supernatural activity is at work in the lives of those who love Him even while it is still dark.
When your days are dark, be assured that Jesus is close at hand and the impossible is already happening . . . and be refreshed.
See you next week for Part 3: Jesus Are You There? We Need To Talk