I’m excited because today I am off on a weekend away with some wonderful women who all know and love the Lord! Willersley Castle near Matlock is the venue for this weekend and apparently we are in for some real treats, in terms of teaching by Pauline Thomas who aims to help us see ourselves again the way God sees us, through His eyes of love and grace. I need to reclaim my identity in Christ – I know that! I get so busy at times I forget who I really am – a child of a Heavenly Father. I am the Daughter of a King (which of course makes me a Princess!).
I’ve got lost! I put myself up to do all sorts of stuff – with the very best of intentions always – and desperately trying to please my Father, but in so doing, I stop listening and just do what I think He wants me to do. I reckon He sighs and thinks “she’ll learn!” Well, I will, eventually – but after almost 58 years, I do wonder when I’m going to be a grown-up woman of faith. Although, it is written “all things are possible with God” Praise Him for that then!
This morning I read John 20/11-18
Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene
11 Mary was standing outside the tomb crying, and as she wept, she stooped and looked in. 12 She saw two white-robed angels, one sitting at the head and the other at the foot of the place where the body of Jesus had been lying. 13 “Dear woman, why are you crying?” the angels asked her.
“Because they have taken away my Lord,” she replied, “and I don’t know where they have put him.”
14 She turned to leave and saw someone standing there. It was Jesus, but she didn’t recognize him. 15 “Dear woman, why are you crying?” Jesus asked her. “Who are you looking for?”
She thought he was the gardener. “Sir,” she said, “if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and get him.”
16 “Mary!” Jesus said.
She turned to him and cried out, “Rabboni!” (which is Hebrew for “Teacher”).
17 “Don’t cling to me,” Jesus said, “for I haven’t yet ascended to the Father. But go find my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
18 Mary Magdalene found the disciples and told them, “I have seen the Lord!” Then she gave them his message.
There are times when I’ve felt myself thinking -“I don’t know where God is in all of this” and others when I feel resentful of people for distracting me away from Him. They come to me with their moans and groans of “It’s freezing in this church, you need to get that heating sorted” or “Your best just isn’t good enough” or “The music’s far too loud, I can’t hear myself think” or “This coffee’s revolting. We always used to have such lovely coffee….”. I hear myself thinking sometimes….”What’s that got to do with seeking Jesus!!” My mind gets bogged down with the mundane and the trivial – light bulbs, milk, central heating boilers – and I lose sight of the Lord I love. Not that those things in themselves are unimportant – we need lights on; we need to be warm enough to worship in some degree of comfort. But nothing is ever as important as seeking the Lord and we should be doing that with our whole hearts and souls. Didn’t Jesus say that very thing?
Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. (Matthew 6/33)
Well, I think I stopped making it my number one priority. And I ended up blaming everyone else for stopping me doing that – when in fact I always had the choice. It was in my own gift to turn around and look for Jesus in all that goes on. In the busy-ness of the day He is there; in the sufferings and the pain He is there; in the quiet of the night when worries surface and anxieties press in, He is there. He promised never to leave and He never does; we simply choose to forget His presence with us.
So I read that Mary, through her tears, said at the graveside ” They have taken away my Lord!” Like me crying and lamenting, ‘Jesus isn’t here – this is nonsense. They have stolen Him from me; I can’t see Him any more’. Then I cried and in my heart I yearned for Him and was still enough to hear Him say softly “Bev” – just that. Just my name. A reminder of who I am and more importantly, who He is. The Risen Lord who will never leave us.
Lord Jesus, there you were when I turned around to face the right way. Through my tears I saw you. Your abundant joy flowing into me. They cannot steal you from me. I remembered the words of Paul:
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love (Romans 8:38)
A grave couldn’t hold you, nor even Death. You rose and lived among us again until You returned to the Father and now You are ‘loose in the world’ through the Spirit. So I can say with the greatest of joy, like Mary:
“I have seen the Lord!”
Bring on the weekend! Let it flow, let it flow!!