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Summary: In the midst of such a crisis, what is Mary to do? She really had three choices that day: she could turn her back on God because the God she knew and understood would never allow such a thing to happen to His own son, her son. She could take matters into

Mary: Learning to Trust God in Times of Crisis

John 19:16-27

Belong to this group and you’re a member of one of life’s most pain-filled communities. It’s a select group with one of the most painful rites of passage imaginable. To enter this fellowship, you have to experience something terribly unnatural.: the death of a child. As one colleague said at a funeral of 21 year old stated: it’s not supposed to be this way, a parent is not meant to bury their child. Children are supposed to bury their parents. Not the other way around. Yet on Good Friday, Mary stood and watched the death of her firstborn child through crucifixion, the most humiliating and painful death in Jesus’ time. That day, Good Friday, was anything but good in Mary’s eyes. A dark cloud hung over her as she entered the fellowship of bereaved parents.

But that’s not the way motherhood started for Mary. The word came from an angel, “You’re going to have a baby. He will be great and called the Son of the Most High. The Lord will give him the throne of his father David and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.” Upon hearing these words, hopes, dreams and expectations must have begun to grow in Mary, as the baby grew inside her. But now, those words fade into the distance as Mary sees her son beaten within an inch of his life and she now stands before the cross seeing him crucified bleeding and suffocating to death. A parent’s greatest instinct is to protect their child but now Mary stands there completely helpless.

This is not what she envisioned for her son. A throne made of wood, a life interrupted, a mission yet to be completed, a kingdom which didn’t exist. Mary didn’t expect it to end this way. And the goodbyes could only be said at a distance in the midst of great pain and suffering. Memories must have swirled in her mind that day of wisemen and shepherds, living in exile in Egypt, watching her son fall and scrape his knees and comforting him, his working in the wood shop, losing him in the temple as a teenager, the sermons he taught, the miracles he performed, the lives he touched and transformed.

And to make matters worse, Jesus must have told her, like he did his disciples, that he was destined to die for the sins of the world. But surely that was a metaphor and not meant to be reality. His disciples didn’t understand and it must have been all the more difficult for mother to hear and grasp. Yet as time passed, disbelief must have turned to a quiet resignation of God’s purpose for her and His son. Yet it’s one thing to know your child is going to die, but quite another to know how he’s going to die. You never expect it to happen before your time. And so it’s much easier to just put it out of your mind. It’s best trying not to think about it. But now, she can’t avoid it. Here she stands, his every word coming to pass but certainly not in the manner that Mary expected. Every strained breath Jesus labors for, slowly suffocates her heart.

In the midst of such a crisis, what is Mary to do? She really had three choices that day: she could turn her back on God because the God she knew and understood would never allow such a thing to happen to His own son, her son. She could take matters into her own hands, seeking to prevent the crucifixion and bring about a more acceptable solution. Or she could, just trust God. And that may be the most difficult of all.

Repeatedly throughout Scripture, God promises to be there for us in times of great need and crisis. He promised to meet our needs: financial, emotional, spiritual and physical. In fact, one of the names of God is Jehovah Jirah, “I am the God who provides for you.” Over and over, God says, “I will provide….” Phil. 4:19 puts it this way, “My God will supply all that you need from his glorious resources in Christ Jesus.” And that means every need. The problem is you look around and not everybody’s need is met. In fact, our experience is that many times our needs go unmet, especially in times of crisis. So what’s the problem? Is God exaggerating the point? Why do our needs sometimes go seemingly unmet? The Scriptures tell us that with every promise there is a condition: you have to trust Him. The more you trust God, the more God is able to meet the needs of your life. The less you trust God, the less he is able to do in your life. What we’re talking about is faith. Matthew 9:29 says, “According to your faith, it will be done unto you.” God in effect says you get to choose how many needs God meets by the faith you exhibit and place in God. God says, “the more you trust me, the more I can do in your life. The less you trust me, the less I can do.”

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