Facing Fears with the Hope of Easter
By Jill Briscoe
As the women hurried to the tomb carrying the spices with which to anoint the body of their Lord, they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”
Some of us face such a problem this Easter time. We would minister to a loved one perhaps, but a great stone lies in the way. Between us and that dear one a great barrier has appeared, one so big that our puny desires appear ludicrous beside it.
Perhaps you face a hostile teenager and, with your hands full of good things—sweet and special presents carefully prepared—you have hurried toward her only to be confronted with that huge stone of anger or resentment, misunderstanding or deceit.
“Love can’t find a way for me; I know, I’ve tried,” you say.
Jesus’ friends must have known some of our feelings. As the women hurried toward their insurmountable “mountain” of trouble ahead of them, they couldn’t think of anyone in the whole world except Jesus Christ Himself who had the power to roll that stone away; and that was their biggest dilemma – Jesus Christ was dead! They had every right to believe He was lying there, sealed into ineffectiveness by the very stone they confronted.
Now you face an immovable object in fear, an object that you have no strength to move, and you believe that the God you had trusted in is unable to help you. On top of it all, you are overcome with a sense of inadequacy; you may be tempted to give up and run away! But love doesn’t give up or run away. Love always walks on, even when it believes the object of its love is dead.
The thing to do in the face of insurmountable problems is walk right on up to them with every intention of walking right on through them, even if they show no signs of yielding. If you can’t walk through, walk around—find a way past to the Lord, who may or may not move or intervene on your behalf. Somehow we need to live life with the attitude, “I love the Lord; my hands are full of gifts for Him; and one way or the other, I will find Him on the other side of this problem.” It’s certain that you’ll never arrive at the other side of your problem by running away from it! So face it; face it together with other believers, if possible. And don’t blame anyone, for that way you’ll exhaust yourself before you ever get there!
I have spent so many years anticipating the stone ahead and practicing rolling it away in my imaginings; I have tried to peer apprehensively around the corner of tomorrow, convinced there are mountains to move just out of sight! “Don’t buy what hasn’t happened,” advised a dear friend of mine as she saw me struggling to move an obstacle that I just knew faced me six months into the future. “Why don’t you wait until you get there?” she asked. I found out that I could spend all my energy pushing away that stone from “long distance” if I liked, but I would probably end up an emotionally depressed wreck.
Don’t do that! Instead, wait until you get there, will you? Most of the things we worry about never happen anyway. We may as well be using that energy to worry about the stones that have been rolled in front of us instead of the ones that might or probably never will be.
The women hurried on through that early morn toward that huge rock that separated them from the body of their beloved Christ. They were frightened, yes, but they went anyway. Don’t wait until you are unafraid before you walk up to the sepulcher. If you can’t walk up to it unafraid, walk up to it afraid. And maybe, just maybe, when you get there, you will find the stone has been rolled away.
Christ cannot be contained within the tombs of our troubles, inside the sepulchers of our sorrows, or behind the doors of our doubt. No stone can shut Him up or away from His disciples. The stone still stood there in that quiet garden, a reminder of the reality of the problems we all must live with; but Christ had moved it to one side so very easily, demonstrating His resurrection power on our behalf. Rejoice for the stone has been rolled away!