Grief Transformed Into Joy

She approaches the tomb with a basket full of oils, ointments, and spices. She is still numb from the last two days. Everything is spinning and she is trying to regain a sense that this is not all a dream. The dearest thing in her life has been removed and nothing will ever be the same.

Does this sound like an experience you have ever gone through? Have you ever found yourself spinning out of control in a place of grief and confusion so that you have no idea how to get through? You are not alone. There are times of deep longing and darkness that we all experience in this life. We usually feel terribly alone.

It was at such a time that Mary Magdalene, or Miriam of Magdala, found herself after the death of Jesus, Yeshua, her dearest friend, teacher, master. He had said he would be raised after three days. But just what did that mean and besides, the trauma of the last few days and the sheer powers of darkness had crushed any remaining hope.

Early Sunday morning found her entering the garden to care for the body of the one who was dearer to her than life itself. On finding the body of Jesus gone, she barely knew what to do next. Overwhelmed with panic and tears she fled the tomb looking for someone to help her. Stumbling upon one she thought to be the gardener, she pleaded for help. “Please Sir, if you know what they’ve done with the body of Jesus, just let me know.”

But it was the risen Christ that met Mary. He spoke her name, “Mary”, and the darkness fled. Tears suddenly turned to rejoicing. Defeat turned into victory and sadness into joy. Nothing would ever look the same again. Death had been swallowed up into victory and the miracle of Lazarus was repeated once more. Only this time Christ had risen Himself.

He had told them before that this would happen. “I have the power to lay down my life and the power to take it up again.” He had proven his power over death when he brought Lazarus back to life. What had make them think that the power of God would be able to raise others but not the Lifegiver Himself?

How does the darkness in our own lives ever turn into glorious light and victory? It is not really so surprising, but it happens in exactly the same way that it did that morning so long ago. It is when we run into the Lifegiver—right in the middle of our sadness and grief. We usually don’t recognize Him. We bump into Him and mistake Him for someone else and start to pass Him by.

It is when we hear Him calling our name that the darkness starts to lift. Can you hear it—that soft voice calling out to you? The reason we so often miss the voice of the Beloved is that we are surrounded with so much external noise that the soft voice is drowned out. Where is the noise in your life? What needs to quiet down so that you can hear the voice of God calling out to you in love?

We create a lot of busy-ness and confusion in our lives. We are surrounded with TV, radio, videos, movies, magazines, and parties. Which of these things helps you to hear the comforting voice of God calling your name? There is a Gnostic text in the Bible that shows us the secret of hearing the voice of Spirit. It says, “Be still and know that I am God”. It is in being quiet and in listening for the voice of Love that we are comforted. We will find it no other place.

Miriam’s grief was turned to joy at the voice of Yeshua. He had triumphed over death and received the power to share the victory with each one of us. The Christ power is still available to us today to provide comfort, healing, and victory. Our dark times tune us in to our great need and if we take advantage of the opportunity we will find the comforting voice of Christ. The same experience of grief turned to joy is available to all. Listen quietly and you will hear the voice of Jesus calling your name.