Mary was distraught.
Her first-born son lay in a tomb after He had been publically humiliated, spat upon, beaten, bruised, falsely accused, and mocked. He had been crucified with sinners and was so reviled that the crowd favored releasing the criminal Barabas in His stead.
How did she get here?
What sin had she committed that everything had turned out so badly?
Would she have had an easier time if only she had followed God more closely?
How could so much suffering be a part of God's plan?
Have you ever wondered how in the world you got to where you are when you know in your heart of hearts that all you did was follow Jesus?
Have you ever looked on as others were happy and healthy while you languished with problem after problem?
Have you ever had friends turn on you or abandon you as if you were somehow untouchable?
The angel had come to Mary when she was a girl, perhaps a teenager, and had told her the wonderful news. She was to conceive the Son of God. And He was to reign forever and His kingdom would never end.
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But now this.
He lay in a tomb lifeless.
Remember back when your calling was fresh and when you had the vision of what God was going to do with your life. Remember how exhilarating it felt to have the Most High God look upon you with favor. Remember the mission that was put before you. Remember how it thrilled your heart.
You didn't know where this was headed, but you knew that God had a plan. And now you've seen the other side. That His plan included suffering. More suffering than you had banked on. But you are in the middle of your story. We have to look to the Bible to see where this will end up.
If your life is miserable with suffering, know that the Psalmist felt the same way when he said these words:
'Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency. For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning.'
The Psalmist also says that the arrogant have good health and no troubles. The wicked are doing well, and they go around swelled up with pride. Their riches only increase while he has nothing but problems.
And he envies them.
I feel the same way. Do you?
But then he goes into God's sanctuary and understands the ending to this story.
The wicked will end like this:
Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction. How they are brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors.
As for his end, and his end and yours, it says:
'Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou has holden me by my right hand. Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.'
He states that God is his portion forever and that those who wander far from God will perish. He understands how this story will end.
The Bible doesn't say that God's calling won't be hard and that there won't be suffering. It doesn't say that your friends won't abandon you or that you won't suffer financial loss.
What it does say is that surpassing glory is waiting for you if you wait for the end of the story, although for some of us, it will not happen until we reach our heavenly home.
Lazarus died, but he also was raised from the dead.
Jesus was crucified, but He was resurrected.
Mary suffered, but her Son went on to sit at the right hand of God.
There may be mourning tonight, but there will be joy in the morning
God's calling is worth it despite the turmoil, but don't take my word for it. Take God's.
In the meantime, this story isn't over. You just need to keep turning the pages.
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