As is so often the case when I pick up my Granny’s copy of Streams in the Desert, the devotional for the day is a perfect fit for the day.
And there was Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre. Matthew 27:61
How strangely stupid is grief. It neither learns nor knows nor wishes to learn or know. When the sorrowing sisters sat over against the door of God’s sepulchre, did they see the two thousand years that passed triumphing away? Did they see anything but this: “Our Christ is gone!”
Your Christ and my Christ came from their loss; Myriad mourning hearts have had resurrection in the midst of their grief; and yet the sorrowing watchers looked at the seed-form of this result and saw nothing. What they regarded as the end of life was the very preparation for coronation; for Christ was silent that He might live again in tenfold power.
They saw it not. They mourned, they wept, and went away, and came again, driven by their hearts to the sepulchre. Still it was a sepulchre, unprophetic, voiceless, lusterless.
So with us. Every man sits over against the sepulchre in his garden, in the first instance, and says, “This woe is irremediable. I see no benefit in it. I will take no comfort in it.” And yet, right in our deepest and worst mishaps, often, our Christ is lying, waiting for resurrection.
Where our death seems to be, there our Savior is. Where the end of hope is, there is the brightest beginning of fruition. Where the darkness is thickest, there the bright beaming light that never is set is about to emerge. When the whole experience is consummated, then we find that a garden is not disfigured by a sepulchre. Our joys are made better if there be sorrow in the midst of them. And our sorrows are made bright by the joys that God has planed around about them. The flowers may not be pleasing to us, they may not be such as we are fond of plucking, but they are heart-flowers, love, hope, faith, joy, peace–these are flowers which are planted around about every grave that is sunk in the Christian heart.
Streams in the Desert, Mrs. Chas. E. Cowman, 1926
Christianity allows for the reality of human weakness and fear. More than that, it requires that we leave off non-reality, pretense and illusion. But contrary to the fearful suspicions of our shaken hearts, it also asserts that reality itself does not have the power to dilute or distort the grace of God.
Reality is not a waterproof excuse or reason for leaving the battle or giving in to despair. And reality need not become a source of indictment or accusation that can be used as a weapon against us.
Reality is an amazing and powerful reality. So is grace. And grace really is amazing.