The Empty Tomb
“Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary went to the tomb and it was empty.” - John 20 v 1-18
Have you ever lost something and went looking in the wrong place?
I remember when we first left the hospital without Reuben. While I was sleeping at night, I would dream I was holding him, but then I would wake up to my absolute shock, that he wasn't there. Sweating and crying, I would look for my baby in sheer panic. I just couldn't believe that he wasn't there, and it felt like he died all over again. Grief tore my heart apart, as I knew I wasn't going to ever find him lying on my chest. The countless times I would search for Reuben in the night. I know with any loss, we would do anything possible to get back what was taken away. Just to clarify, it's not wrong to go looking, it just depends where you go searching.
I know with experience, I have personally got lost a few times in life and gone wandering in the wrong places for security. Ever since Reuben died, a part of me went with him and I wanted that back so badly. I first went looking for it in my marriage, as I expected so much from my husband. I wanted him to never let me down or it would just add to my loss. I needed him to be perfect, whether it be the way he spoke or how he acted around me. I just couldn't cope with the thought of being let down again. Then I went looking for security in my friendships, as I needed them more than ever. I was saddened to be confronted with loneliness when I watched those I loved, disappear into their busy lives. Don't get me wrong, I had people walking with me through my grief, but it never felt enough. Nothing ever was going to be enough. I had just buried my baby, who could ever understand my suffering. All loss is so personal and unique. Your story is not someone else’s - your story is your story. Everyone will deal with loss differently, I have met people who just crack on with life and never speak about it. I have known people to live in their pain, whilst hurting others. I have known people to turn their suffering into helping those in need. No way is the wrong way, there is grace for every story of loss. We will get there.
I want to go to the Bible and look at that time, when Jesus had just died for our sins and was buried. It tells us in the Gospel of John, that Mary woke up and went to the tomb where Jesus was buried.To her utter shock, Jesus was no longer in the grave. She started to cry in her grief for her Saviour. Until what she thought was the gardener, Jesus spoke to her and asked her why she was crying.
Mary replies, “I have lost my Saviour.”
Then Jesus speaks her name “Mary.” Mary then recognises Jesus, standing beside her.
I imagine Jesus is standing alongside us in our loss, and speaking to us and asking the same question, “Why are you crying?”
Jesus cares about your tears, even though He knows. He will ask “why”, even if no-one else does. No-one will know us like Jesus knows us. So there is one person that understands your suffering and loss, and that is the Lord Jesus.
Right now, wherever you are, know one thing, that Jesus knows your name. He knows your suffering and loss. He loves you more than you could ever imagine.
My question that I ask you, with so much love and gentleness is, are you looking in an empty tomb? Has it got to a point in your life, where others are just not enough for your healing?
Jesus was on the outside of the tomb with Mary - He wasn't in the grave. He wasn't too busy to care. Jesus was standing with Mary, while she was crying out for something more. He was asking her questions and calling out her name. This is both an extraordinary and beautiful truth for you and me today. He still speaks, and He is calling out your name.
Just like Mary, Simon and John didn't recognise Jesus. It tells us in Scripture, that their eyes were restrained and didn't know Him. The word “restrained” can mean unemotional or often used when someone was in chains. I often think that we are chained up by our thoughts and agendas. Some people believe that there is no such thing as God, because of how much suffering there is in the world. I believe this is where this verse comes into our reality. We allow our view to restraining us from the truth, while all along Jesus was always there in your suffering. Jesus was never the cause, but He is your solution.
‘Jesus was never the cause for your loss, but He is your solution’
Jesus is always showing Himself to us. He is always speaking. We are just not seeing or listening. Just like how Jesus left His grave clothes behind, I believe we should leave behind our understanding so there's room for a new revelation.
So for me, I have soon and quickly realised no-one was ever going to be my superhero in my grief. No-one was ever going to perfectly support me, but for the first time in my life I understood what it was to completely rely on God only. Through this, I experienced wholeness like never before. But I would be lying, if I said I never struggle because I do, and I do a lot. I am still wrestling with grief, and continue to rely on God daily.
My empty tomb still hurts, but I know I can fully trust in God. Regularly I will cry out for my Saviour and He always answers me. I am so grateful that Jesus is no longer in the grave, but He is with me on the outside looking into my empty tomb. One afternoon I was sitting on my couch, looking out the window and crying out “Why me, why did I have to lose a baby!!’ Jesus spoke to me, like He always does and said these words to me “You never lost Reuben, I gave him to you as a gift.” In that moment, I suddenly realised Reuben was a gift given, and he was never lost or taken from me. My perspective had to change, from then on wards I can truly say I am thankful for the gift that was given to me for that time and season of my life. God promises us that every gift given to us, will be ours to keep. But in all honesty i am still finding my way through grief,with Jesus at my side.
“ He was always a gift given, he was never lost”
Lots of Love, Leah x