Sitting and waiting....


Mary Magdalene watched yesterday as Jesus hung on that cross. But what is she doing today? How is she feeling today? Sad, hopeless, lonely, full of grief?

I’m guessing she cried a lot and played back all the conversations she had with Jesus. Remembering all his teachings and the things he said would come true. But a lot of it was so confusing, what was she supposed to make of it? She probably sat and tried to make sense of it all. Tried to figure it out and connect all the dots, just to get any semblance of peace and comfort. When we’re sad or hurt, our brains just want to make sense of it, to make it logical, as if that will make the grief and pain go away.

But she couldn’t. She had just watched her friend, her teacher, her Lord be crucified. She watched the blood drip down as he was beaten and mocked and stripped of all his clothing and his dignity. She watched the people shout with joy at the violence, cheering on the abusers, as if it were a sporting event for their favorite team.

She must have stood there with all the disciples, weeping, saying, “It’s not fair! It’s not fair that he has to go through this. It’s not fair that Jesus is being killed when Barabbas (a known thief and murderer) was let go and set free without any punishment. He’s the one that should be crucified. He should be the one people are cheering on to die, not Jesus! Jesus did nothing but love the marginalized, touch the untouchable, provide for the hungry, heal the sick and raise people from the dead. He doesn’t deserve to be punished—it’s not fair!”

I wonder if she sat there that day, feeling like she was living in a dream. Feeling like it happened so fast that her head was spinning with all the questions, the whys, the what ifs. From sadness to anger to fear to grief to loneliness to hopelessness. I’m guessing this woman felt the cycle of emotions all day long. She probably wanted to act, to do something, but couldn’t because it was the Sabbath. So she must wait. She must sit in her pain for now. She must feel the grief, for there is nowhere to go and nothing to distract her. She knows she will go to the tomb tomorrow, but for now, she will sit and wait.

Wait for the LORD; be strong and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD. Psalm 27:14 
Our soul waits for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. Psalm 33:20 

All of us are in a season of waiting. Waiting for normal life to return. Waiting for warmer weather. Waiting for healing from sickness and for the day when we can see family and friends again. Waiting to wake up from what feels like a dream. And it’s easy to feel hopeless like Mary Magdalene may have felt. She wanted to believe it would get better—that Jesus would come back to life, but all logic pointed to the fact that he was dead. I think we all want to believe this will be over soon, but the facts show us that quarantine will continue on for weeks and maybe months. And it’s easy to fall into the trap of comparison: “It’s not fair that so-and-so still gets to see her friends! It’s not fair that so-and-so is still getting a paycheck! It’s not fair that the neighbors have an enormous amount of toilet paper and hand sanitizer, and I have none!”

Mary Magdalene didn’t know what the next day would bring, just like we don’t. She had no idea what she would find upon arriving at the tomb the next morning. And we can’t see what lies ahead for us after this pandemic. We are all asking the same questions: “Why? What if? I don’t understand. It doesn’t make sense.” We want to believe the best but can’t see beyond the tomb of Covid-19. But just like how Mary Magdalene must have been blown away when she showed up and heard the words, “He is not here, for he has risen!” I believe we will be overwhelmed by the miracles God does in and through and after this pandemic.

So I challenge you to wait for the Lord. Hope in the Lord. Be strong and take courage. He is your help and your shield. Take refuge in him. Jesus made good on his promise to be the King who reigns forever. He didn’t stay in the tomb, but he lives and rules now and forevermore. Hold on, tomorrow will come. The hospitals will clear out, the masks will disappear, and the schools and businesses will reopen. You can sit and grieve today and feel the weight of the sadness and say life isn’t fair.  BUT WAIT! Tomorrow the tomb will be empty, and we will celebrate the goodness and the faithfulness of our incredible Savior!

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