Do you hear the desperation in their words? It is a desperate feeling when we come to the end of ourselves.
“Who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us?” Mark 16:3
It was early and, I imagine, chilly, with a fine mist hanging in the air. The women were consumed with grief, depleted of energy and without hope. They were not thinking clearly—forgetting all that Jesus had promised them. Yet, together they had made the journey to serve Him, their beloved, to anoint His body. But, there it was, an insurmountable obstacle in their way—a massive stone.
The darkness pervaded
I remember a few adventures with My Man where the “whine” could not be controlled. As I trudged along behind him, losing the last of my strength, no end point in sight, I’d ask a question, and, oops, there it was—the whine, creeping in.
The Marys must have let that whine creep in, too.
Breathless, they stared at the stone and then looked down without hope…”it was very large”
We are usually breathless, too, Easter morning, when we hike up to fellowship and watch the sunrise. It is my favorite morning of the year and my favorite thing about Easter. I tell the kids:
“Hurry, let’s race to the tomb!”
And we really are racing; My Man must be pretending to be a speed racer. Being slightly late just adds to the thrill. Waking the family early and racing through the dark is all worth it, though, because…
“When they looked up, they saw the stone had been rolled away”
We know the end of the story and we can celebrate—our Savior lives! He has made a way for eternal fellowship—with Him and with all believers.
The importance of and the gift of “fellowship” has been on my mind lately. I’ve had a lot to think about since our family just finished a week of burning the candle at both ends and having some of the most meaningful fellowship I have ever experienced. We worked, celebrated, worshiped, played, reminisced and grieved.
The longest-married set the standard for the newest
The main event was the celebration of the marriage of our nephew to that amazing young woman I mentioned in a recent post. Then, the following day, we enjoyed a family worship service before celebrating the 50th anniversary of my husband’s parents.
The “full circle” and grieving happened the day after, when we began to say goodbye to my husband’s precious aunt. Family members who had just gotten home turned around and drove the six hours back to see her.
His aunt had attended every special occasion possible as long as I had known her—binding my heart with hers. I will miss our conversations, her gentle ways, joyful spirit and ready-smile.
Fellowship is a glimpse into the heart of God
The heart of God is fellowship—in play, worship, family, work—eternal fellowship with Him.
Those are the basic things that were instituted at the beginning of time; walking with Him, marriage, bearing children and working. “Goodbyes” didn’t exist—thus the suffering that comes when they happen.
It is simple: God made us, loves us and desires to be with us forever
It is simple, but we humans complicate it. We often stand in the way of meaningful fellowship—with each other, with God. We may do our best to avoid fellowship completely.
I still complicate things, but not nearly like I did in our early marriage. I’ll continue with my backstory…
I was a large stone, an obstacle to true fellowship
I confessed in my last post about being completely kid-centric after our son was born. I’ll add this: when he napped, I was completely Kate-centric. I took those quiet moments alone to hunker down with a good novel. Cleaning and cooking were put aside as long as possible.
I wasn’t “leaving and cleaving”, so I begged for My Man to move us closer to my beloved high desert and grandparents. He liked it up there and decided to give it a chance.
The move further strained our marriage. He did not work in that area very often, thus was away from home—a lot. My solution with the extra time was to read novels at nap time and in the evening!
When the baby was awake we had great adventures together—outside as much as possible. In the winter I strapped him on my back and went snowshoeing alongside the Pit River.
I clung to my fierce independence
I was fiercely independent. Life felt easy; have fun with the baby or lounge around reading. Do I even need a husband? It wasn’t healthy.
Thankfully, a work had begun in my heart over a year before when I helped in the kitchen at a church camp. I immediately enjoyed the camaraderie in the kitchen; I had never been in that kind of fellowship before. It felt akin to what we will experience in heaven: working alongside each other in rewarding tasks.
(If you have to wrap hundreds of potatoes you may as well have a blast! Photo credit: Uncle Bill)
My heart was transformed in the “working together”
Something else happened at camp that I wasn’t accustomed to: I wasn’t praised for my work! Can you believe the nerve?! Lots of people were publicly thanked for their efforts, but I was left out. Intentionally? Perhaps. This was eye-opening—spirit-opening!
I began to understand servanthood and following Jesus—He came to serve
On that same trip I heard God’s Word for the first time and it was John 14:6:
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’.”
Serving, with a lack of praise from “man”, and hearing God’s Word, began to transform my soul. I began reading the Bible and, soon after, met My Man.
Fast forward to reading novels and wasting a lot of time. The Holy Spirit began to nudge me—all of that “Kate-time” wasn’t feeling right. I thought back to the fellowship I had experienced at church camp and knew I needed more of “that”.
When God directs, He also supplies. As I began to feel the “nudge” to get into fellowship, God brought two believers into my path. Soon I was in a women’s Bible study and attending a church.
God uses work, marriage and parenting to refine us
Those things that God instituted at the beginning of time are the things that refine our character the most—and, they all involve fellowship. My Man’s parents, and his aunt and uncle, demonstrate the beauty of the commitment of marriage—becoming one flesh and loving your spouse through countless changes and hard times.
We are all faced with the choice: allow the refining process or stand in the way of it?
I don’t want to be that stone in the way; I want to be movable for God’s purposes.
My prayer is Jim Elliot’s prayer:
“God, I pray, light these idle sticks of my life and may I burn for thee. Consume my life, my God, for it is thine. I seek not a long life but a full one like Yours, Lord Jesus.”
1 Timothy 2:5 reads:
“For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.”
The “who” is Jesus and the “way” is Jesus. The women ran with joy to hear that their Jesus was alive! We should all run with joy at the news:
He offers life to the fullest
Enjoy this Resurrection song from my dear friends and have a blessed weekend.