II Samuel 18:1-19:10; John 20:1-31; Psalm 119:153-176; Proverbs 16: 14-15
Were you like me, quite struck by the gamut of emotions displayed in today’s Scripture readings? Almost every section contained a story with extreme emotion and feeling contained within it. Let’s look at some of them.
-In II Samuel 18:33-19:4, King David shows deep grieving and mourning for his son Absalom who has been killed in battle by David’s men. When a parent loses a child, no matter how rebellious the child may be, that death is always deeply painful. David is in despair.
-In II Samuel 19:5-8, Joab displays his frustration and indignation towards David for his mourning. In fact, he is so outraged over David’s emotions that Joab goes in and rebukes David in righteous anger. Joab's hard and exhorting words are a kindness to his king and friend, and save David from further trouble.
-John 20:11-16 tells of Mary Magdalene’s confusion and upset. She can’t understand why Jesus is not where they left him. She thinks someone has moved him and can’t figure out why. She is so disoriented, she is not asking the right questions and can’t even see the answer right in her face.
-Again we see strong emotion in the disciples in John 20:20 as Jesus comes to stand among them and shows them his hands and side. His disciples are “overjoyed when they saw the Lord.”
-John 20:24 also shows the strong feeling of doubt in Thomas who struggles to believe in something he has not seen or experienced.
-Finally (although I’m sure there are more), Psalm 119:169-176 exemplifies a holy hunger and passion and desire for the Lord and for walking in his ways.
Grief, anger, disorientation, joy, doubt, and longing are all parts of our lives today. We may experience them all in one day, or we may be in a long season of just one emotion. But here’s what I love about our God - he is with us in them all! The Lord allows them all. The Lord shows himself faithful and loving throughout all our different emotions and feelings.
Let’s look quickly how he does that in our reading today. When David has grief, the Lord provides a friend to give good counsel and comfort. When Joab is angry, he is able to express it in a way that brings about change and right action in another. Joab doesn’t have to stuff his frustration about seeing something wrong. No, he acts on it and is used by God to save a friend and nation from further trouble.
In John, Jesus is so patient and loving towards all the different emotions he encounters. In Mary’s disorientation, he allows re-orientation. He quietly calls her name and causes her eyes to focus on him. In the disciples' joy, he is present and rejoicing with them. And in doubt, Jesus doesn't rebuke or show disappointment in Thomas, but lovingly provides what he needs to have his faith and belief restored.
Which of these people or emotions do you identify with today? Will you allow Jesus to enter it with you? Will you allow him to gently provide exactly what you need in the midst of it? He is a personal and tender God. I hope you see his mighty hand as he moves in and through you. Our God is so good.
- Mary Matthias
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