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Faithless Fear

Mark 16:4-5
But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. (NIVUK)

The women had come to the tomb at dawn on the third day since Jesus was crucified.  They came with expensive spices to anoint His body.  Probably they had been awake all night collecting the embalming fragrances, and riddled with grief.  It was only as they picked their way through the breaking darkness that they wondered how they would get into the tomb, which had been sealed with a very heavy millstone (Mark 16:1-3).  They did not know but they kept walking to the burial site.

When they arrived, it is hardly surprising that these women were alarmed.  Nothing in their experience could have prepared them for this.  Yes, they had the words of Jesus filed in their minds somewhere, that He would rise again on the third day: but this was a totally unique event.  As they did not understand what Jesus had said, they had no way to calibrate their minds to what they found at the grave site (John 20:9).  They had expected a stone across the mouth of the tomb, with impressive Roman 'keep off/do not touch' seals.  And they expected to be alone at that time in the early morning.

All their expectations were shattered.  The stone was rolled away; the seals were broken.  And, as though waiting to greet them, a shining example of God's Corps of Angels was sitting quietly at the side of the tomb - so that they could see inside.  With no other male company, the women did not know how to react, except to pump out lots of adrenaline.  It was a natural response to a radically different scenario than they had anticipated.  But it did not breathe faith.  They were still thinking in the small confines of their little world of the expected.  It required God's Word through the angel to change their course (Mark 16:6-8), and even then, they were still full of fear.

Every unexpected, out-of-our-depth encounter easily produces the same reaction.  But it need not.  It would be better if we trained our minds to compare our circumstances with the Scriptures - we would understand more and fear less (Psalm 119:81).  If we expected the Lord to work out His Word into our lives and those around us - we would be refreshed rather than flummoxed, as each day unfolds its mysteries.  Our hearts will find more peace when we trust God to act according to His Word; then we can know how to cooperate with Him in the worlds of business, management, finance, relationships and, indeed, every unique crisis.

 

Prayer 
Father God. Thank You for Your Word which teaches me what You are like and how to trust You. Please forgive me for ignoring what You say. As you bring each new day beneath my feet, help me to believe that You are not leaving me to solve all its riddles alone - but that Your Word is framing each day and that You are there to work it through with me. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams

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