Mary Magdalene loved her Lord so much that she just had to see Him again. She had followed Peter and John back to the tomb. When she returned to the tomb she still believed He was dead and she wanted to locate His body. Her grief was so great; she missed seeing Jesus and wanted to be able to care for His body:
“Then the disciples went away again to their own homes. But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. Then they said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ She said to them, ‘Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.’” (John 20:10-13)
Some may say that Mary should have been rejoicing at this moment. Even if Mary had realized that Christ had risen from the dead her grief is still understandable. Grief of a loved one who has gone to be with Jesus is not wasted grief. You miss your loved one even though you know they are in a better place. You miss seeing them; hugging them; laughing with them; just being with them.
However, our grief—though it comes in waves—is not a permanent grief; it gets less traumatic over time. And in our times of grief we are reminded, or need to be reminded, that our loved one is in heaven and we who believe in Christ will one day be reunited with them. Scripture is a wonderful place to turn in times of grief to receive these reminders:
“Thus says the Lord: ‘A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping, Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted for her children, because they are no more.’ Thus says the Lord: ‘Refrain your voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears; for your work shall be rewarded, says the Lord, and they shall come back from the land of the enemy. There is hope in your future, says the Lord, that your children shall come back to their own border.’” (Jeremiah 31:15-17)
There is hope in our future that we will see our departed children, parents, and siblings…of those who knew Christ as Savior. When grief overwhelms us we must turn to the Lord to remember this blessed assurance and receive Christ’s comfort. And remember that even in times of happiness your grief may return and you will have to deal with it:
“Even in laughter the heart may sorrow, and the end of mirth may be grief.” (Proverbs 14:13)
It is strange sometimes that in moments of happiness I am reminded of Eddie and the grief returns. But it is not the grief this world experiences; I do not hide from it…I am healed from it. Commenting on Mary Magdalene’s grief, Warren Wiersbe writes:
“There is certainly nothing wrong with sincere sorrow, because God made us to shed tears; and weeping is good therapy for broken hearts. The sorrow of the Christian, however, must be different from the hopeless sorrow of the world (1 Thess. 4:14-18), because we have been born again ‘unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead’ (1 Peter 1:3, NASB). We weep—not because our believing loved ones have gone to heaven—but because they have left us and we miss them.”
Many of you I know have recently lost loved ones; and some of you not so recent and yet the grief still comes. Allow the weeping to come because it is indeed “good therapy for broken hearts.”
But know that the grief and the weeping are not permanent:
“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5b)
Do not hide from your sorrow; you have the blessed assurance that if your departed loved ones knew Christ as Lord and Savior they are with Him in heaven right now. And if you too know Christ as your Lord and Savior then you will be reunited with them and Him one day.
The only question left to answer is: Do you know Christ as your Lord and Savior?
That’s the most important question you will ever answer…
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Copyright © 2012 David Jeffers