Scripture: John 20:11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb (where the crucified Jesus had been laid). As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; 12 and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other 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 When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” 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 Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because 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.’ ”
Observation: Like so many of his disciples, Mary was filled with grief over the death of Jesus. His crucifixion must have seemed like an unmitigated disaster at the time. But Jesus knew better. His death and resurrection, though painful at that moment, would pave the way for forgiveness of sins for all people. Jesus would also send the Holy Spirit to live in the hearts of all believers rather than just a few chosen ones. In short, what looked like an awful ending to Jesus’ story, was actually the beginning of something more beneficial than anyone imagined at the time.
Application: Life is often like that, isn’t it? We experience great adversity only to realize later that it was merely a painful transition to something better. I hear this sort of thing all the time. Someone loses a job, yet finds their way to another that proves more fulfilling. A relationship comes to an end, yet leads to another that is far healthier. A health scare leads someone to adopt lifestyle changes with enormous long-term benefits. I could go on.
In the moment of setback and loss it’s hard to see beyond painful “now”, yet positive breakthrough may be just around the corner. Some of you are in that place of pain right now. Life has thrown you for a loop and you’re not sure how to respond. Take heart dear brother/sister. You may be down right now, but the Lord will pick you up and move you forward in time. It’s what the Lord does. Over and over. Count on it.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, this morning we pray for those of us who find ourselves in a difficult place – personally, professionally, relationally, financially, whatever. Give us grace to endure the painful present that we might soon see the better future you have in store. We ask this in your holy name. Amen.