“They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.” Luke 24:2-3 (NIV)
It’s been eight months since my daughter was diagnosed with cancer, and sometimes she jokes this has been harder on me than her. I don’t believe that for a moment, but I know what she’s saying. Though I consider myself a strong woman of faith, if I had an Achilles’ heel, it would be watching my children hurt — for any reason.
While my daughter went through her major operation, I sat in the waiting room wishing I could take her place. While she waited for lab test results, I held my breath until the news finally came.
As Christmas approaches, I’m drawn to the story of another mother who watched her child suffer. Mary gave birth to a son in a barn. When the angel first told Mary she was carrying the Messiah, it seemed like a dream. Until one day, there He was, resting in her arms.
Like most mothers, she had no idea what was ahead for her child. Her baby turned into a boy and then eventually became a man. Sometimes she marveled at Him (Luke 2:33). Some days she got frustrated with Him (Luke 2:48).
Sounds like motherhood, alright!
When He was 33 years old, Mary’s son hung on a rugged cross to bear the weight of humanity’s sin. As He suffered, His mother never left His side. When He died, His body was placed in a tomb, and a large stone rolled over the opening.
Three days later, Mary and a few friends approached the tomb, carrying incense and heartache. It was customary to anoint the body. As they walked, they discussed how they’d roll away the heavy stone over the entrance (Mark 16:3).
Luke 24 describes the scene that greeted them:
“They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus” (Luke 24:2-3).
The tomb was empty. An angel informed them they wouldn’t find the living among the dead. Jesus wasn’t there. He had risen!
That day, an enormous physical stone was rolled away from the mouth of a tomb, but so was the burden on a mother’s tender heart. Her son suffered, but His life left an eternal impact on the world. Throughout Jesus’ life, and even in His death, Mary stood close to Her son, but God drew even closer.
Over the past eight months, I’ve walked this new path with my daughter. I stay as close to her as I can, but I also kneel and ask God to roll away all the burdens I can’t remove on my own.
To replace fear with trust.
To exchange uncertainty with truth that God’s hand is over my child, even in suffering.
Remembering He has a plan for her, and I may not fully understand what that looks like, but He does.
As this Christmas approaches, we’ll lift our hands to praise God for a baby born in a barn. We’ll thank Him for the massive stone that was rolled away, revealing our Savior lives.
Lastly, let’s thank Jesus for rolling away our burdens, as He carries the weight we cannot carry on our own.
Dear Jesus, as Christmas approaches, I will unwrap many gifts, but the greatest gift is that You were sent for us. You walk with us daily. Thank You for rolling away the burdens that are too big for us to carry by ourselves. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Isaiah 53:3a, “He was despised and rejected — a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.” (NLT)
Do you long to walk closer with Jesus in the new year? Suzie Eller’s new devotional, Come With Me Devotional: A Yearlong Adventure in Following Jesus is a perfect gift for you or a loved one to start your new year on a faith-filled note.
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REFLECT AND RESPOND:
The stone that covered the mouth of the tomb is believed to be over 2,000 pounds! Two men could move the rock over the opening, but it took additional manpower to move it once it was firmly in place.
It’s OK to admit when a burden is too heavy to move on your own. In fact, it’s a show of strength to reach for help. Ask God to help you roll away that burden, trusting He is near.
© 2017 by Suzie Eller. All rights reserved.