Acting Despite the Stone

You know that moment when you read something for the umpteenth time and it feels like the first? That happened to me reading the first three verses of Mark 16. Here they are:

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”

Even though I’d read this multiple times, something jumped out at me clear as day. That something was the order of events.

It wasn’t the first thing on these three ladies’ minds to ask themselves about the stone in the way. No, they bought the spices, set their alarms (although I have a sense they didn’t really need to), and were already headed to the tomb to tend to Jesus’ body before they really pondered exactly how they were going to get in.

I found that very telling. Many times we let the impossible keep us from preparing for it. These ladies didn’t worry about that. Why?

I believe it was because they were so focused on serving Jesus. Literally. The stone in the way didn’t deter them from buying the spices. They could have said, “Uh, what’s the point of spending money on something that I might not be able to use. I’ll just pray about it and hope that stone gets out of the way somehow.”

Instead they bought them, got up early, and headed for the tomb. It seems they had so much faith they were going to get to tend to Jesus that their attitude was, “Somehow, we don’t know how, but somehow that stone will not keep us from getting to him.”

I have a sneaky feeling their question wasn’t one of doubt but one of wonderment. Just how was God going to help them.

It seems that God often does his best work when we let him deal with the impossible while we deal with the possible. They did everything they could to be ready to serve. What did God do? He made sure the obstacle in their way was removed.

The Lesson: Act despite the stone. Avoid letting the impossible paralyze you from living an active life of faith. These ladies would have seriously kicked themselves had they let the question come first.

What they would have missed. I’m thankful for their example of not letting the question of the impossible stifle their actions of faith.

Photo by Katherine Hanlon on Unsplash


Wound’s Intentions

Just finished listening to the final episode of season 6 of the Being Known Podcast. Never disappoints.

Curt said something about the story of Adam and Eve that probably only a psychiatrist would come up with. It had to do with wounds. Here’s the quote:

The intention of God wounding Adam in Genesis 2 is for creating beauty and goodness. The intention of the serpent’s wound to Eve in Genesis 3 was to destroy her.

Dr. Curt Thompson

We wound others. Others wound us. Sometimes we intend beauty and goodness; sometimes we intend destruction. So many things could be said about these truths. But I want to take a different direction. However, here’s an interesting question now in my head about emotional wounds: What were the intentions?

It’s Easter weekend. Yesterday I kept a ritual of watching Mel Gibson’s The Passion. So much realistic wounding in that film.

True to form, Jesus’ enemies, both human and spirit, were after destruction.

True to form, Jesus was after beauty and goodness.

Be encouraged. It’s normal for wounds to take time to heal. It’s normal to hate the wait, to wish the pain away, or to rush happiness. But without the waiting and the pain, the healing isn’t complete.

Jesus, thank you for turning intended destruction into eternal goodness…for the beauty of your wounds…for completing your intentions.

Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

Making God

In Psalm 115, the writer describes the gods of other nations besides Israel’s. He makes an interesting comment in verse eight. He says those who make their own gods will become like the gods they trust.

It certainly is convenient to make your own god. Making a god allows for the worshipping of that god to also be up to the maker. So the philosophy can go something like “make your own god, make your own rules, make your own values, make life what you want it to be and you should be happy and fulfilled.”

The challenge of making your god is that your god is confined to the stuff you used to make it. Since that stuff was determined by a human, then that god can only serve humans within their own limits. For me, I need something more. And I’d rather become like something more.

When the Maker and Ruler of the universe expresses a desire to be my god, I’m drawn to consider that option over any other option. He has the best chance to work outside of what I can do, make, or value. I choose to let Him continue to make me, in essence continue to create me into His likeness. I’ll take my chances on fulfillment and happiness in becoming like the god who made me rather than any god I could make.

Photo by Jackson David on Unsplash

Go For The Green

It’s that time of year. Early morning running means mostly running in the dark. And in Florida that also means avoiding sprinkler systems. These days my runs begin anywhere between 4:30 and 6:30AM. No matter what time I leave, if my route includes around the neighborhood somebody’s sprinkler system is doing its thing.

It was around 5:50 this morning as I ran down a block where it’s hit and miss. Some houses have systems; some don’t. For some reason this morning my eyes caught a clear contrast between two neighbors, one with one without. As if the sun was at high noon, there couldn’t have been a clearer sign. It almost looked intentional, as if a hairstylist stopped halfway through the dye job right at the top of the head.

Got me to thinking. It’s not news here that 2023 has started with a rain shortfall. So if you want your lawn green, it’s on you. And that means at least three things:

  1. You need a plan. That may sound like a no brainer, yet somehow the neighbor with the dead grass missed it. How many sprinkler heads, which direction are they covering, when does it come on, how long does it run-the plan can’t miss any details if the yard is going to be HOA prizeworthy.
  2. If you’ve done your job right, you can sleep well. You won’t need to get up every morning at 4 to check it out. It’s like that current TV commercial for tax preparations-“Bring it to us, and don’t water your lawn.”
  3. You cannot assume once it’s working your job is done. Two blocks west from my front door someone has made this assumption. Guess what? Half their water is going into the street. None of the sprinkling shoots out more than three feet. I wonder when’s the last time the system was checked.

These thoughts apply to many areas of life. Marriage. Parenting. Management. Eating. Exercising. Finances. Career. Education. Faith.

How’s your plan?

How’s your sleeping?

How’s your assumptions?

Photo by Mani Sankar on Unsplash