Show Up (Read: John 20:1-10)

By: Annie Rogers

How many times have you torn apart your house looking for a lost item, maybe even blaming other people for moving it, while it was in the palm of your hand the entire time? I have thought my glasses have disappeared while they are still on my face. Another time, I could not find my phone anywhere until someone called it. As I felt its vibrations against my ankle, I remembered I had dropped into the side of my boot hours earlier.

Sometimes we experience this same conundrum with Jesus. While we do not “lose” Jesus, we certainly go looking for him in the wrong places, in the wrong things, and in the wrong way, when the answer is right there in the palm of our hand the entire time. I cannot think of a better example of this experience than Mary Magdalene looking into the empty tomb.

In John 20, Mary Magdalene peers into the opened tomb, expecting to find Jesus’ crucified body laid to rest. Instead, she discovers two angels who question her tears. “They have taken my Lord away,” she mourns. The text is clear that she does, in fact, notice these two angels, but at the moment she does not understand what that means. As she turns away from the tomb, an unidentifiable Jesus blocks her path and repeats the angels’ same question. Mary does not recognize Jesus and explains the travesty to Him. In response, Jesus simply utters her name, “Mary.” It’s in this moment that she is enlightened and realizes that her Lord is right in front of her in that very moment.

Just as Mary went looking for her Lord where she expected Him to be, how often do we too go looking for Him where we think He should be. We pray fervently about a specific solution to a problem, and search endlessly for God in the answer that we want. We grow disappointed and disillusioned when God does not “show up”.

Yet, God shows up every single time.

We simply look in the wrong place. We look at our answer, our solution, and our own narrow-minded way. Mary searched for a dead body in a tomb, which no longer served any purpose or offered any hope. She wanted Him to be there so deeply she could not even comprehend that two angels sat in front of her very eyes for a reason.

We, too, want our way so deeply that we blatantly ignore the Spirit’s movement within our lives. We cry out to God in frustration, thinking that He has abandoned us in our time of greatest need, when in reality, He has been there beside us the whole time. Mary finding Jesus’ dead body in a tomb pales in comparison to finding Jesus being risen from the dead, just as Jesus’s answer is always more significant than any solution we could beg for. We do not always like His timing or understand the answer He provides, but His way is always good and always precise.

Let us turn our face away from these failed expectations and move towards the One who can do far greater than we could ever imagine. Recognize the sound of Jesus calling out your name. Allow Him to pull you out of your own head, so that you may delight in His greater goodness and experience the life of hope and promise He has paved for you. He always sees your tears. He always hears your cry. He will never fail to show up.

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