"But very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. They found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. So they went in, but they didn't find the body of the Lord Jesus."—Luke 24:1-3
Have you ever arrived at a but moment in your faith journey?
In early January, my pastor, Steve, invited those who could pray in faith for a healing miracle to join him in praying for his wife, Elizabeth. Though CT scans in summer 2011 had shown no leftover cancer cells from Elizabeth's eight-month battle with ovarian cancer, recent tests told a different story. Cancer had returned. Too-low hemoglobin levels had probably damaged her heart, while blood clots had formed in her lungs and abdomen walls.
In my pastor's words: "We are grateful for the doctors. In their minds, the doctors are sending her home with only a short time to live …. We appreciate all that the medical community has done …. They have done the best they can. But now, we lean even more fully into God's promises, love, and power."
My pastor's invitation ushered me into a but moment: Do I have what it takes to be one of those Luke 24 women who had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs (Matthew 27:55)? Those women had heard his final cry on the cross, seen Joseph wrap Jesus' body and place it in the tomb, felt the weight of the stone settling into place in front of the tomb's entrance. These women faced the facts but returned to do the work they'd prepared to do.
Face the Facts
Abraham faced the facts (Romans 4:18-21). He faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about 100 years old—and that Sarah's womb was also dead.
The women at the tomb faced the facts: Jesus was dead. His wrapped body now lay in a tomb they couldn't enter because a stone blocked its entrance. "Who will roll away the stone?" they'd asked themselves.
Steve and Elizabeth have faced the facts. She may die tomorrow.
I want to face the facts and despite them, pray in faith for her 100-percent healing.
What facts do you need to stare down? What have you laid to rest—not because you wanted to and certainly not on your terms? What stones block the place where what was most precious and life-giving to you now lies, wrapped and lifeless?
The women had observed Sabbath. But as soon as they decently could, they returned, bearing the spices they'd prepared to anoint Jesus' body. Resurrection movement is like that—a force that pulls you forward from the facts you've faced and pushes you to return … to a tomb in the dark of an early morning or, like Abraham, into the sweet dark of a tent, holding Sara's familiar body close, one more time, together preparing for a miracle.