Today’s Reading: John 20:1-31
Jesus had been killed right before her eyes and now she was in the cemetery. Four times we read that Mary wept or was weeping.
This was Mary’s second visit to the tomb on this morning. She was beside herself with grief. The Bible says, “But Mary stood outside the tomb weeping. As she wept, she knelt to look into the tomb.” You can feel the grief and feeling of helplessness as she looks into the tomb for another time.
Mary was overcome by grief because Jesus had transformed her life. He had cast many devils out of her, seven to be exact. She was a new person. Her life had been radically different and now the source of her great change was gone.
Things that make us cry are a natural part of life. If you cry you are still living. If you cry it is a sign that you are still part of the human race.
The good news is that there is a Saviour, Jesus and He wants to bring you to life. Your weeping may endure for the night but when Jesus comes into your life joy comes in the morning.
Phillip Gulley tells the story that when he had an old neighbour when he was growing up named Doctor Gibbs. He didn’t look like a doctor. Most of the time he wore a straw hat whose front brim was green sunglass plastic and denim overalls. He smiled a lot and his smile matched his old hat. It was old, crinkly and well worn.
When Dr. Gibbs wasn’t saving lives, he was planting trees. His old house sat on ten acres and his life goal was to make it a forest.
The good doctor had some interesting theories concerning plant husbandry. He came from the “No pain, no gain” school of horticulture. He never watered his trees which flew in the face of conventional wisdom. Once Gulley asked why. He said watering plants spoiled them, and how if you water them, each successive generation will grow weaker and weaker. So you only have to make things rough for them and weed out the weenie trees early on.
The old doctor talked about how that watering trees made for shallow roots and how that trees that weren’t watered had to grow deep roots in search of moisture. So he never watered the trees. He’d planted an oak and, instead of watering it every morning, he’d beat it with a rolled up newspaper. Smack! Slap! Pow! I asked him why he did that and he said it was to get the tree’s attention.
The doctor died over twenty-five years ago and Gulley says that he every now and again walks by the doctor’s old house and looks at the trees he’d watch him plant years ago. They’re granite strong. Big and robust. Those trees wake up in the morning and beat their chests and drink their coffee black.
Gulley planted a couple of trees a few years back. Carried water to them. The whole nine yards. Two years of coddling has resulted in trees that expect to be waited on hand and foot. Whenever a cold wind blows in they tremble and chatter their branches. Sissy trees.
It seems that Dr. Gibbs believed that adversity and deprivation seemed to benefit them in ways that comfort and ease never could. Too many times we pray for ease, but that’s a prayer seldom met. Weeping drives us to let our faith go deep. Weeping causes us to search for Him until we find Him. Mary went back to where she saw Jesus last and that is where it happened.