Friday night I told my husband that I needed some ‘cave time’ over the weekend. I was aware that there is a lot going on in our lives and as an introvert I need serious alone time to process it (by the way, I look extrovert to most people, but I’m not. That can be hard, because people think you’re being unfriendly when actually you’re just trying to carve out space so you don’t go under).
He was extremely understanding and yesterday gave me the gift of a day in which to do the things I needed for a bit of soul care. I tidied up literal spaces which were stopping me from thinking straight. I sat in that tidied space and poured words onto journal pages. I baked – my way of finding re-creation. I didn’t talk much.
Today I wrote again as soon as I woke up, listing the complex, painful, situations I am dealing with in my (our) life right now. Amazingly our marriage relationship isn’t one of them (let me hear a big ‘Praise God! Hallelujah! Amen ! That’s awesome!) 🙂 After I read the list I wrote the words that echo in my being all the time,
‘I feel wholly inadequate to deal with all of this.
God be enough. Please. Today. Right now.’
I turned to my bible readings wanting to hear God’s response.
‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight’ Proverbs 3 v 5 & 6
‘I will obey your decrees. Do not utterly forsake me.’ Psalm 119 v8
‘Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone will come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.’ Matthew 16 v 24
Follow Me , Trust Me, Let Me show you the way.
Having read I wrote again,
“Pretty clear message coming out. No quick fix, easy solution, bam I’ll zap out all the bad stuff.’
With that in my head and heart I went to church, to the early morning communion service which every week feeds my body and soul.
The older gentleman leading the time together read these verses from Mark 16, as he began to speak to us,
“When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so they could embalm him. Very early on Sunday morning, as the sun rose, they went to the tomb. They worried out loud to each other, “Who will roll back the stone from the tomb for us?”.
The women were on their way to the tomb. They’d been waiting since Friday night to do this. As soon as the sabbath had finished at sundown the night before they’d gone to buy their spices for embalming. They had nothing else in their minds. They wanted to get to the body, they wanted to do what they still could for Jesus. It was only on their way there that they vocalised the biggest problem that stood in their way. The stone.
The stone which, according to archaeologists and historians, would have been the size of two men, trapped in place by an iron spike secured in molten lead, with the Roman seal of authority placed over the top. It was under armed guard. As the speaker this morning said, ‘the tomb was not also physically sealed, but politically sealed.’
The women had no answer to the question they asked. They had no possible way of rolling the stone away. And yet they kept going on their journey to the tomb.
I have never thought about those women and the stone before. Now that I think about it it’s obvious that they had no hope of getting in to the tomb. What did they think they were doing? We overlook that part of the story because we know that when they arrive they find the soldiers gone, the stone rolled away, and a helpful angel has been left waiting for them to tell them what’s happened and where they should go to find Jesus. We read it as an exciting and amazing treasure hunt.
But really, what were they thinking ? Early morning darkness; three women; some spices – they weren’t going to get anywhere near the body.
Again, quoting our preacher,
“Before it was rolled away the stone represented an impossible situation. Inside was darkness and death, not even ordinary natural death, but the murdered body of an innocent man with all the marks of his suffering still there.’
I don’t know about you, but right now, this morning, I have those impossible situations in my life. Darkness and death. Things that shouldn’t be happening. Wrongs that I want to see righted. Pain that has taken hold.
The question I was really asking of God in my journal this morning, only I didn’t know it then, was ‘Who is going to move the stone? I know that I can’t. I am wholly inadequate. I’m just one woman and there is no possibility at all of me shifting it. ‘
And God has answered me, through his Word.
So I’m taking my place beside those women this morning. I’m taking the paths I know I should take. I’m trying to lean in and trust God and follow His directions. I’m doing all of that, even though when I look ahead I just see the stone in the way.