John 12:1-11 and Matthew 26:10-13
Finally the weather is turning to spring. The evidence can be seen in my front yard: tulips determined to push their way through the dead grass.
So I went for a walk today, allowing yesterday's words in the red to roll in my head. Take away the stone. What does it mean to have enough faith to allow Jesus to take away the stone? Why do I protest when He says to me to take away the stone, as Martha did?
It is my memories of people who I could not trust. People who did not show up, who I depended on but proved themselves to be not dependable.
But other people are not Jesus. So as I walked today, He whispered to me:
I am not like the people who were unworthy of your trust. Just because it has not happened yet, this does not mean I am not listening to you, or you are unimportant. It does not mean I said no.
It there is purpose in the pain. My plans are unfolding as you are waiting. I do not waste your pain. I do not waste your waiting. I do not waste your tears.
From the foundations of the world, I have planned for you to be right here, right now, in this. There is no mistake. This is what I always intended.
I am worthy of your trust. Trust Me.
I find that in today's story too, of Mary who lavished her priceless perfume on Jesus' feet. Mary understood what Jesus had been telling His disciples, even while the others were still in denial. Judas criticized Mary, but Jesus defended her:
"Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial."
Mary understood, and so I can only guess her sorrow of knowing her dear friend Jesus would die soon. Mary understood, and so she did what she could to worship and thank Him. Her pain, her small gift to the God of the Universe, was all she had to give. But even in her pain, even in Jesus' pain, none of this was wasted, it was INTENDED to be so. Jesus explains more in Matthew 26:10-13:
“Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to Me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have Me. When she poured this perfume on My body, she did it to prepare Me for burial. Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”
Jesus was blessed by her actions. He called it a beautiful thing to Him. He was able to use her actions to point to a greater truth: He will be buried and they needed to prepare.
Like Mary, even if we have a glimpse of who Jesus is and what He is up to, we only know the sliver shown to us. He sees the whole. He uses the whole, even my sliver. He uses it as He intended.
And that is good.
Beloved, I can see that as the tulips in the front yard wait through the winter and bloom in their time, so You have Your time. You are never late. Even in my life. Thank You that even though Martha protested about the stone, You still prevailed and it was moved away. Thank You that Your will always prevails. I cannot mess it up! I cannot miss it.
Thank You Beloved for showing me that my trust is weak because I am comparing You to the breathing people I have known. You are so much more than that, so other, so worthy. Allow me to understand and worship You in abandon as Mary did.
You are worthy of my trust. So worthy.
Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.