Asking Great Things of a Great God

By Leslie Strader | April 2019 WBS Devotional

“When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. And they were saying to one another, ‘Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb? Mark 16:1-3 (ESV)

My husband is great at seeing the big picture in every situation. He’s a visionary, always looking ahead and beyond. No one has ever accused me of that. I love details, and the more uncomfortable I am with a situation, the more comfort details provide. 

So I can see myself being the one, had I been there, to ask the question in verse 3: What are we are going to do about that big stone in our way? I can fall so deep in the weeds of why, when, where, and how that I miss the broad, beautiful strokes of grace, faithfulness, and love God is painting across the landscape of my life.

These women loved Jesus, no doubt. After all, they were the only ones brave enough to show up that morning just outside Jerusalem to offer one last act of kindness for their Lord.

Their topic of conversation, however, is convicting. Isn’t it interesting that the only thought on their minds was how they were going to move the stone that was covering Jesus’ tomb? You would think after hearing Jesus predict His death and resurrection multiple times—especially in recent days—they might be looking to encounter something more. But according to Scripture, they had no expectation of finding the tomb empty, that He might actually fulfill His promise to return. It was if they were watching the sunrise through a pinhole. 

Verse 4 reveals what they discovered when they arrived at His burial place: not only had the barrier between them and the body of Jesus been removed, but also the barrier—the barrier of sin—that had stood between them and eternity with God was gone.

Jesus was alive. This meant that He was everything He said He was. And that day they received more than they dared to think possible. Their fears had been unfounded, and their prayers had been too small.

I wonder if that isn’t my problem, too. The details that I want to manipulate and control often keep me from trusting the One who died to set me free from such chains. So how does that affect my posture before the Lord? 

Do I approach the throne of grace, where the resurrected Jesus sits at His Father’s right hand to intercede for us, with unfounded fears and faithless prayers? Do I settle for asking for small conveniences or just the absence of something painful rather than seeking Him, our living Savior, with my eyes and heart wide open?

The question we all need to ask ourselves is, when we come to Jesus, what are we looking for? Do we want Him to solve our problems—to roll away a stone that’s an annoyance or frustration or trial for us—or do we want Him, a relationship with the One who made us and understands us and can perfectly meet all our needs?

He offers us more than we let ourselves think possible…and yet our prayers and hopes and expectations are often far too small. Our promise-keeping Lord is infinitely loving, unceasingly faithful, and completely good. Take your eyes off the distractions in front of you and fix them on heaven, where all things are already made right. And don’t be afraid to ask great things of a great God.

 

Prayer:

Father, You love me and ask me to trust You with and in all things. And there is no reason why I shouldn’t. Yet I continually doubt Your promises and discount Your power. You care for others, but…for me? I confess I am my own plan B way too often. Forgive my faithless heart. Tear down the idol of self I exalt above You. Increase my faith, love, and joy, and keep me in Your Word—the very best reminder of Who, how, when, where, and why You are. I love You, precious Savior, and long to see You one day face to face. In the strong name of Jesus, I pray, AMEN.

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