Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Watching from a distance

Grand Sweep Daily Reading: Mark 15, 16; Psalm 132, 133

Mark 15:40-41 (NIV)

40 Some women were watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. 41 In Galilee these women had followed Him and cared for His needs. Many other women who had come up with Him to Jerusalem were also there.

Good morning!

From a distance, I imagine the women could hear their Lord screaming in agony as Romans nailed spikes through His flesh. They watched Jesus struggle to breathe for hours on the cross. Terrified by the events of the last twenty-four hours, the ladies may not have completely understood what was happening or why, and yet, they showed great tenacity and courage in following their Lord to Golgotha. They were there.

Women tend to be there, caring for those who suffer, in times of extreme sickness and death. Women have an innate quality for nurturing and caring for those in pain. Maybe it comes from developing a high pain threshold in the childbirth process. Is there some natural-born instinct for a young mother to stay up all night and rock their sick child with a high fever? Women are very brave people, and the women who followed Christ were exceptionally courageous.

The disciples had disbursed all over Jerusalem, looking for a place to hide. They feared they would be next: the Roman soldiers would seek them out, torture and kill them just like they were doing to the Lord. The women who stayed knew they could easily be identified as Jesus’ followers. They would rather have died with Him than to watch Him suffer so. What mother wouldn’t take on a child’s illness, if she could spare her child the pain? What wife wouldn’t want to shoulder the burden of a sick and suffering husband, if it meant he would recover?

Through His passion, these women knew something of His promise. They believed Him when Jesus said He would die and rise again. They couldn’t understand how that could happen, but they knew all things were possible with God. The proof was in His life, and they had watched Him fulfill God’s promises over and over again. It was enough to keep them watching from the distance, and it was enough to bring them back to the tomb on the third day.

I don’t always understand the bigger picture. I see suffering all around me, and sometimes, it would be easier to run and hide than face it full throttle. There are some things in this life that I’m not going to completely grasp while I’m here. The miracle occurs when I allow faith to overcome fear and courage to step up in the great unknown spaces of life. I pray that God will give me what I need to do what He calls me to do, when He calls me to it. I trust Him enough to follow, even when it makes no logical sense. Oh, to have just a tiny portion of the faith these women displayed.

Can you imagine how the women must have felt with the sky became totally black, and the Lord breathed His last earthly breath? They felt the earth quake beneath their feet. They heard the curtain in the Holy of Holies ripped apart. They saw their Lord pass from this life into the next, not fully understanding what that would mean for them and for life eternal. Their overwhelming grief for the One they loved was about to turn into pure joy. Oh, to experience Christ’s death and resurrection first hand! Were you there?

God, grant us the courage to step up in faith, especially in times of suffering and pain. We don’t always understand the bigger picture. Help us to lay aside our doubts and place total trust in your Word. Take us to Calvary. Give us a glimpse of what you did to save us from sin and death. May you find us ever faithful and vigilant, like the women who followed you to the cross. We will wait for your return. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding

Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO

Pray for: greater faith! The women who watched from a distance knew God would return, just like He promised. If you are struggling to believe today, ask the Lord for help. He will give you what you need when you need it. The work on the cross is complete. Jesus died to save you and me. Won’t you give Him your life today?


© Copyright 2007, Deb Spaulding

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