You’ve been in meltdown before, when the world felt unusually cruel and your insides collapsed and there weren’t enough tears to cry through your heaving convulsing sobs. Like the wind was uppercut out of your soul.
It’s not pretty. Not like the movies. It’s not dramatic or cathartic or ironic or Oscar-worthy — it’s ugly, snot all over, face puckered in fifty places, bowled over with all kinds of noises spewing from your guts.
I was reading John 20, and Mary Magdalene was there too.
Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying.
I read this and grew horribly sad, imagining her hunched over and hopeless. Her world was punched through. I knew how she felt.
The man they called Savior, who had rebuked seven demons out of Mary and had been bathed by her family’s precious perfume, was now just a cold lifeless body in an airtight tomb. Along with his body were the dreams of a different future.
Mary was demon-possessed: so she wasn’t allowed to shop, marry, have friends, go to the Temple, or travel freely. She was one of those fringe losers on the edge of everyone’s radar. Maybe Jesus would’ve changed all that: but they killed him on a dirty wooden cross.
Only — around the corner — something was happening.
The dream was not dead.
She turns to see two angels. They ask why she’s crying. She laments over her Lord, whose body she thinks has been stolen. She doesn’t understand yet.
She turns again and there is a gardener. He asks why she’s crying. She thinks he knows where the body went. She doesn’t understand yet.
Some of us live in this space — we don’t know yet. We are sitting outside a broken dream weeping into our hands and watching the sand fall through tired fingers. It’s gone. We can’t possibly know how it will get better.
God understands this. It’s partly why He sent His Son — to turn back the clock on every fallen grain of sand.
Jesus, in a miraculous meta-cosmic reversal, finished the sentence of humanity with his resurrection. Entropy died. Tragedies no longer defined the end. On the grandest scale, hope weaved itself into broken human hearts and we were revoked every reason to fear.
Then on the smaller scale: for Mary Magdalene, and for you and for me — we await the miracle around the corner.
We lost our dream in a garden once. But the gardener is here.
He is alive: and so now, are we.
It could be that nothing around you gets better. But He is there, extending grace within the swirling mess of a hostile world.
It could be that people around you don’t change. But He is there, growing you to change when others do not.
It could be that you get stuck at that obstacle once more. But He is there, having already removed every obstacle between you and Him at the cross, empowering you for so much better than you think.
In your crushed swollen chest where the hurt pulls in: Christ comes to fill the broken places like so much water in cracked earth, new breath stretching your lungs, so we may thrive and bloom and stand on our shaking feet again.
Turn. He is there.
Because I live, you also will live.
— John 14:19