Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.
(John 20:1 NIV)
Friend to Friend
Let me try that again. What do you do after you’ve crossed the Red Sea of obstacles, only to be dying of thirst at Marah three days later? How do you keep your dancing from turning into disappointment? One thing is for sure; you don’t drive down your tent pegs by the disappointing waters of Marah and camp out there. You move on.
I think of the women on Jesus’s ministry team. They had committed their lives to the Messiah and believed that He would restore Israel. Mary Magdalene and a handful of other women had followed him for more three years. But life had not turned out like they thought it would. Their hopes and dreams were nailed to a cross and the lifeblood spilled on the ground to be trampled underfoot. Their future lay in a borrowed tomb—sealed behind an imposing stone.
It appeared Jesus was not going to be the ruler and set things right after all. The very people He came to save had killed Him. This was not how the story was supposed to go . . . at least in their eyes.
So what did Mary and the other women do? On the third day after Jesus’s death, while it was still dark, they got up, gathered their spices and started walking to the tomb (John 20:1). Never mind that it was still dark. Never mind that a giant boulder blocked the tomb’s entrance . . . a stone too heavy for the women to move.
Never mind that armed Roman soldiers stood guard over the grave. Never mind that the disciples were so discouraged and disillusioned that they hid away in a secret room. Never mind all that. The women didn’t have all the details worked out in their heads, but they were not going to sit home in their discouragement—paralyzed into inactivity. They were going to move forward . . . while it was still dark.
Mary Magdalene got up, and she got going . . . while it was still dark. In the end, she was not disappointed that she took this step of faith, and you won’t be either. Just as assuredly as Jesus met her at her greatest point of need, He will meet you at yours.
Did you notice that Mary Magdalene didn’t wait until her circumstances changed before she got moving? Jesus was still dead as far as she knew. But she got up and moved forward anyway.
And where did she go? Yes, she went to the tomb, but there is more. She went back to the last place she had seen Him. Perhaps that is where you need to go today. Go back to the last place you encountered Jesus. Even if it is still dark. Even if you are still in a dark place. Even if a seemingly impossible imposing boulder of disappointment is blocking your dreams. Don’t worry about moving the stone. God’s good at that. You just keep putting one faithful foot in front of the other and let God take care of the rest.
Oh, what we miss when we make camp in the painful place of disappointment and refuse God’s invitation to continue the adventurous journey. We miss the moments of sudden glory when our eyes are shut tight because of discouragement, and our hearts are bolted fast with despair.
Never allow the weight of discouragement hold you down or lower your expectations of the life in Christ. Get up. Get moving. Open your eyes. Open your heart. There’s more to experience just around the bend.
Heavenly Father, sometimes I get so discouraged that I just stop. I drive my tent pegs down in the soil of discouragement and camp out. I know I need to leave the past behind and press on toward what is ahead. That is exactly what I’m going to do today. Give me the courage and the power of the Holy Spirit to take the next step out of the wilderness and head toward my Promised Land.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Is there an area of deep disappointment in your life that you’ve gotten stuck in?
What is one thing that you can do to put the past behind and move forward…even if it is still dark? Even if you don’t see a break in the clouds? Even if you don’t see God moving?
More from the Girlfriends
A mediocre, mundane faith is not your destiny! In Take Hold of the Faith You Long For: Let God, Move Forward, Live Bold, I reveal the most common reasons we get stuck in our Christian faith. I show you how to break free of all that holds you back, move forward with all that God promises, and live the adventurous faith of bold believing. It’s time to leave behind feelings of inferiority, insecurity, and inadequacy that hold you hostage and take hold of the mountain-moving faith God intends. Let’s uncover untapped sources of confidence and courage, and see how to move from simply knowing the truth to actually living it out boldly in a life marked by true freedom and expectancy. It’s time to get UNSTUCK! (Includes a Bible Study Guide for group or individual study.)