Lord, I choose to abide in You, remain in You, and I will rise to worship You – no matter what.
Focus of the Month: Ordinary Women with Extraordinary Hope
Suddenly everything has changed. In an instant, nothing is the same. Life will be different now. Possible… But far different than expected, desired, or hoped.
As the mind races with imaginations these altering circumstances produce, anxiety, fear, and depression can take root in our souls. Whether we respond paralyzed, fretful, or fleeing, it would seem we become thrust into a spiral of defeat.
Yet, even though the surmountable situations seem overwhelming, different doesn’t mean defeat, and defeat is not the only surrender. We are not alone in these experiences – for all of us face trials, struggles, temptations, disappointments, and derailment. How we respond makes all the difference.
All four Gospels tell of the mockery, beating and crucifixion of Jesus. In each Gospel, Mary Magdalene is noted as one of the women who stayed near Jesus throughout His death and burial. Regardless of the horrific events, she remained close to her Savior. Once Jesus was placed in the tomb, her service and worship still did not cease. Luke 23:54-24:1 says:
It was the day of Preparation, and the Sabbath was beginning. The women who had come with him from Galilee followed and saw the tomb and how his body was laid. Then they returned and prepared spices and ointments. On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment. But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared.
Mary Magdalene had received deliverance from Jesus. She knew life apart from Him; and she knew life in His presence. She believed Jesus was the Son of God, listened to His teachings, followed Him closely, had faith in Him, and served Him reverently. Of all women, she is the one mentioned most throughout the Gospels.
Upon witnessing the death and burial of her Lord, Mary Magdalene prepared spices and ointments to apply to the body of Jesus. When dawn was breaking, Mary Magdalene did not cover herself up in bed and hide in despair. She didn’t make excuses as to why she couldn’t serve Jesus anymore. She continued to love Jesus extravagantly and worship Him beautifully.
In fact, John 20:1 says, ” Now the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb” …while it was still dark she went!
The passage is referring to the time of day. But having just witnessed the death of her Savior, the time of day wasn’t just dark… Deep sorrow, struggles, and loss can be “dark” times. Nonetheless, in the midst of the darkness all around her, Mary Magdalene arose early – on purpose – with determination and focus – to go and serve her Lord – to passionately minister to Him – to worship Him sacrificially.
Is there a struggle you are experiencing? Have you wrestled with dark times? Be encouraged even in the very midst of those times to rise up – while it’s still dark – to worship the Lord, to seek Him, to serve Him, to love Him. In the very midst of your surrender to serve Him – despite the sorrow and struggles – resurrection life in Christ will be found.
Holding Fast to Hope,
Scripture References: Matthew 26-28; Mark 14-16; Luke 22-24; John 18-20