…When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. Mark 16:4
When my husband was diagnosed with cancer, I was terrified. I’d never been around anyone with cancer, and it wasn’t part of our family history. I had no idea what to expect, but I knew it was a time to trust.
The surgery went well, and the doctors told me afterward that they thought they had gotten it all, but, of course, I knew there would be some sort of follow-up. When we met the oncologist for the first time, he recommended chemotherapy—six long months. My husband met the news with his typical pragmatic attitude wanting to know when to begin.
I didn’t know about cancer, but I certainly had heard horror stories about chemo and knew the side effects could be ghastly. We asked the same people who had prayed for the surgery to now pray for chemo treatments. And I prayed that I would be able to support Peter in spite of my own anxiety.
The first day of treatment was scheduled, and I did a lot of extra praying, especially for strength. We walked in the door looking about to find seats. Instead, we found Anne. Anne was the head nurse for the clinic (I had no idea!), and she was a dear friend from our church prayer group. “We’ve been waiting for you and praying,” was Anne’s greeting. And so began six months of seeing a friend who we knew had been part of that great cloud of witnesses that are always there to support us through dark times.
I suspect those ladies who went to the tomb on Easter Sunday had hearts full of dread, perhaps not unlike my experience, just much more intense. They knew what they had seen, and they anticipated the horror and grief they would encounter. But even before they could minister to Jesus’ body, they had an almost insurmountable task: Who would roll away the stone?
And how much time do we spend worrying about something that we fear will happen? We reflect on past experiences thinking that this is going to be just the same—or worse. We don’t always trust that God will go before us to lift that load. Notice the order of events: When they looked up… Had their eyes been on the ground in their overwhelming sorrow? Were they thinking of the impossibility of the situation? WHEN they looked up…they saw the stone had already been rolled back.
The answer was there before they asked.
Father, help us to look up when we’re bowed down, knowing that you have already met the need. And thank you, too, Father, for healing Peter. AMEN.