Saturday, April 23, 2011

Burial. Wondering, What Now?

"When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who also was a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had cut in the rock. And he rolled a great stone to the entrance of the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb. (Matthew 27:57-61)

I keep thinking about the confusion, discouragement, and despair that Mary, Mary Magdalene, and the apostles were experiencing the day after His crucifixion. Their hope, their teacher, their friend, their Messiah, was just slain. Right before their eyes, He was buried, and they are left feeling empty.

I can’t help but think “isn’t this just how we feel when tragedy hits our lives? We wonder . . . what just happen? Where is He? Is this all true? How can I be sitting here, across from all that I knew and understood, only to have it shatter into pieces right before my eyes?

I imagine Mary and Mary Magdalene’s face as they sit across from Jesus tomb. I wonder if they looked at each other the way my sisters and I looked at each other when we got the shocking news of my father’s death. I wonder if they sit and stare, speechless, numb, the way husband and wife did when they buried their infant son.

I wonder . . . if they wondered “Where is Jesus? What just happened? Where is God in all of this?”

I am comforted that Mary and Mary Magdalene were in despair and confusion. They walked with Jesus every day, and still couldn’t understand His ways. Like us, tragedy strikes, pain hits, and we fall to our knees. We wonder.

Then we remember . . .

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9)

“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding.” (Job 38:4)

God is working in a way we just can’t understand. His ways are beyond our comprehension. There is a resurrection coming. There is hope arriving. We just can’t see it in the present. We sit opposite Jesus tomb, broken, confused, in despair. We don’t know what God is doing in the meantime, the purpose for our pain and confusion. We like Mary and Mary Magdalene can only remain faithful, weep, press on, and hope.

We don’t realize that tomorrow is Sunday . . . resurrection awaits. His light will soon shine through the darkness.

“Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him” (Revelation 1:7)

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