Sunday, April 13, 2014

Learning from Mary, the mother of Jesus, How to Suffer Loss

 

Today we have more encouraging words from Shari Hervold.  May God speak through her words and bless our hearts.

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We are all familiar with the account recorded in the gospel of Luke of the announcement to Mary by the angel Gabriel that she would be the mother of the Messiah, Christ Jesus. Mary’s response to this was simply, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” Keep those words in your mind as we look at Mary in another setting in her life.

Jesus, though the son of God, was also Mary’s son and she loved him with the heart and devotion of a mother. When he was sick, she nursed him back to health, when he fell and skinned his knees, she tenderly washed them and administered healing oils to them, when the children in the neighborhood called him a bastard, Mary’s mother-heart ached for him, comforted only by what she knew to be the truth, yet could only reflect and ponder on silently.

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This month we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus. By this time Mary is a widow without Joseph to comfort her in her grief and heartache. She has experienced the death of her husband and the loneliness that accompanies it and now her precious son is enduring a public travesty. Throughout his public ministry Jesus had thousands following him. Yes, he was despised by the religious leaders, but he soared above them in popularity with the people and I’m sure that Mary could take great pride in her son, the popular rabbi. But now, even many of the people who had hailed him just a week previously, totally turned against him, and those that didn’t were too afraid to speak up. Mary had to watch from the sidelines as her son endured a mock trial and a death sentence to crucifixion. She observed him endure the scourging that cut deep into his flesh and nails being hammered through the tendons of his feet and hands, all of this coupled with the shame of being stripped naked, as Roman soldiers mocked him. Remember, this is her son, not just her Messiah. It is impossible to imagine what Mary must have been feeling as she observed all of his sufferings, unable to assist him in any way, but relegated to the sidelines to watch the cruelest execution one can imagine. The Scriptures tell us that Jesus was so battered that he was unrecognizable. Could Mary have possibly had any idea what she too would have to suffer when she uttered those words to Gabriel, “Let it be to me according to your word,”? Why could Mary stand and watch her son endure an agony no other mother would ever have to endure with calmness, without making a scene by shouting epithets at the soldiers or throwing herself prostrate at the foot of the cross? (Who could have blamed her had she?) May I suggest that Mary was able to exhibit such strength because her life was emotionally centered in God.

You widows know the pain of the loss of your spouse and many of you have endured the grief of losing children. Some days I’m sure that your losses have made you just want to give up on life. But, you haven’t. I encourage you to look at the example of Mary as she calmly accepted the worst that life could give so that the whole world would have the opportunity to have the best that both life and death could give. God knew what He was doing in choosing Mary to mother His son. He saw a young girl with a heart fully surrendered to Him. While there will never be a need for another “Mary,” God desires that you surrender your life to Him and allow his strength and succor to be yours as you live with pain and loss. Though the tears may sometimes flow, I encourage you to say as did Mary, “Let it be according to your will.”

 

Shari Hervold

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