Saturday, January 30, 2010

While It Was Still Dark (March 25, 2008)

"Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdelene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance." John 20:1

As I sat in Easter services this weekend and read the text of John 20, this phrase repeatedly captured my attention..."while it was still dark." I have often marveled both at the living nature of God’s Word (that it is always actively fresh and relevant) and at its detail. This small detail is a great example.

Sitting there, I began to think about many of my friends and family (and even parts of my own recent journey) who are in a "while it was still dark" situation. Many are in situations that have been dark for a while. There has been a "death" of sorts, whether a literal death of a loved one, death of a ministry, a friendship, a marriage, a dream...and those dark days can seem overwhelming. The temptings of doubt, unbelief, and agonizing silence...the inability to see beyond that dark, all seem to threaten hopes of anything beyond the grave.

But I wonder, for how many of us who are in these "while it was still dark" situations, is God quietly cheering us on as he works out a wild plan for resurrection. In Mary’s story, I see our own. Mary was out in the dark, heading to minister to her Savior’s body. I’m sure the grief of losing what she thought would be her Messiah was agonizing. Doubts, pain, questions must have muddied her mind and darkened her vision as she put one foot in front of the other to face that tomb. And I see us, discouraged by what we can’t yet see....painfully tearful over what appear to us as dead end roads and sealed tombs... stumbling as best we know how to "plant seed" in the somehow muddle through believing, if even only with a mustard seed of faith. We journey through the dark to face the final resting place of what we see as a closed door, a sealed tomb.

But Jesus. When Mary got to that tomb, it was open and Jesus wasn’t lying there motionless, dead, unaware of her grief. Suddenly, in a day, in a moment, all that Mary knew had changed. What she deemed to be her greatest grief, the most painful death, a sure dead end, a forgotten dream, the darkest night, was now pierced with beams of light. And as she encountered the risen Christ, all of her darkness was diffused by His Light. As she turned her face upon his, He changed everything about that moment. What was once her darkest hour, became a miracle of His glorious Light. And He rewrote her story...far beyond anything her mind could have previously conceived, above any of her previous imaginations...Here was Christ, risen, alive, her King had come!

As we stumble tearfully through the dark to face the tomb of our own dead ends, I wonder, do we see that God may just be at work to do an absolute miracle right before us? Perhaps, He is setting the stage for the darkest night of our lives to prove the power of His might...a resurrection of sorts. After all, His Word says that the same resurrection power that raised Jesus from the dead is at work in those of us who believe.

So friends, for those of you who are in a "while it was still dark" moment, I encourage you to hold on! Your resurrected Christ is at work in you, for you, to His glory. What you see as your greatest defeat may just be the groundwork to display His splendor! Stand and see the salvation of the Lord!

"Jesus said to her, ’I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?’" John 11:25-26

Believing God for your resurrection...


Anonymous said...

Your faith is a gift to me! I pray that your life will be used to inspire and lead others to live for Jesus in thought and action.

Toni said...

Thank you, Jennifer. I am praying for you. I'm proud of you.

K said...

Just found your blog! Fantastic post!

Anonymous said...

TY having just been released from thehospital after the third visit for respiratory failure I feel like I have been down a very dark road but Jesus is alive and He saved me and I look forward to the light rays of hope that spring eternal from his tomb. Jesus is truly alive and he spared me. Thanks for your note

Anonymous said...

Thanks Toni for your powerful and true words. My husband has been going through one of these "dark" periods for quite some time w/ his career and I read your blog to him. Your writing is wonderful...what a gift! Mandy G.

Toni said...

Thank you, Khaddafina, Mandy G, and DWilks. I am so blessed to know that something I wrote in a hard time can be a blessing to others! Praying for all of you this morning.

Post a Comment