For Those in the Waiting
By: Maggie Meadows Cooper
"But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment." - Luke 23:56
Not long ago, my Bible was opened to Luke 20 where Jesus tells the parable of a vineyard owner who entrusted the fields to his tenants. When harvest time arrives, he sends not one, not two, but three workers to retrieve his portion of the grapes, and all come home wounded. Once it is clear that his workers will not be respected, he decides to send his "beloved son" because he believes the tenants will listen to him. But, out of their selfishness and greed, they murder him in cold blood. Uplifting story, right?
Y’all, the greatest heartbreak of this parable is that it isn’t just a story. It is a parallel to what the Lord has done for us. He created this incredibly beautiful world and entrusted it to us to live in. He sent multiple prophets and leaders to teach us about Himself and how we should love and obey Him. But, we wouldn't listen. So, out of His continued good faith and longing to see us do the right thing, He sent His beloved Son, Jesus. However, nothing was different. Because of our hardness of heart, Jesus was beaten, whipped, tortured and crucified on a cross to die for our sins. Thankfully, His story didn't end there because three days later He rose! The stone was rolled away, and He appeared to many before ascending to Heaven.
That's the super-condensed Easter story that we all love and celebrate each year, because it is worth our endless celebration. Jesus is Alive!
However, this Easter season, my heart has been touched by those who feel the utter pain and heartbreak of those 2 days after the crucifixion. Those in the waiting...
Hope was lost. Hearts were broken. Faith was shaken. Life wasn't fair. Pain was ever-present. Fear reigned. The future was uncertain. The.Bad.Guys.Had.Won. And Jesus was silent.
My heart aches for the hard things in the lives of those I love. My soul searches for answers to hard questions. My mind thinks itself out for solutions to problems. And, my level of what I can handle hits a breaking point every few months.
That overwhelming sense of overwhelmingness is a small piece of how I imagine Jesus' followers felt in the two days after the crucifixion. When they prayed, they didn't hear Him. They couldn't go to Him for comfort. He was painfully absent...and silent. I had a friend tell me recently that it's so very hard to pray and pray and not hear anything...to wait for the sun to come out...yet the darkness seems to hide all of the light. And it is.
When I hit that low point, this is my list of to-do’s:
1. Have a good ugly cry.
2. Eat a lot of chocolate.
3. Pity-party for a bit.
4. Put on my big girl panties.
5. Get back up again.
But during that in-between time, the women who loved Jesus did something quite different, that we all can learn from during these difficult times:
1. They kept their eyes on Jesus.
"But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things..." Luke 23:49, 55
2. They prepared to give Him their best.
"Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes." Luke 23:56
3. They rested in obedience to His command.
"But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment." Luke 23:56
My list was all about me. Their list was all about Jesus.
In His absence, in His silence, in the uncertain waiting, they made Jesus the center of their lives.
My Jesus. Your Jesus. That random guy walking down the street's Jesus. He loves me. He loves you. and He loves that random guy walking down the street. And...He. Came. Back.
We have the amazing gift of knowing that we may weep for a time... but JOY WILL come in the morning! (Ps.30:5)
As we find ourselves in an unprecedented period of waiting, keep your eyes on Jesus. Offer the very best of yourself to Him. And rest in His loving arms, my sweet friends.
"And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Matthew 28:20
Maggie Meadows Cooper is a wife, mother, educator, author, and blogger with a longing for women to grow a heart for Jesus and others. She is the author of the children’s book Bumper, helping others to see that the heart is what counts most. She blogs at The Little Moments about what the Lord is teaching her in everyday life and contributes to Blogs by Christian Women, Devotional Diva, She Disciples, and Connecting Ministries. An educator with a M. Ed. in Early Childhood Education from Auburn University (War Eagle!), she has eighteen years experience teaching and currently serves as a Parent Coordinator in the Opelika City Schools. She loves all things chocolate, real Coca-Cola, and leading the FBCO Teen Moms group. She lives with her husband, three children, and two rambunctious dogs in Opelika, Alabama.
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