making death smell better
Read Psalm 3:7 to see a heartfelt prayer for God’s mercy.
Where are you encountering death? In what ways do you need to relinquish control and turn to God for hope and mercy?
Some years ago, I hopped aboard a plane in Simferopol, Ukraine, for a flight to Moscow. Officials had told me a separate Russian visa was unnecessary. They were wrong. Russian military stopped me at the plane’s door upon arrival in Moscow, detaining me overnight until they could stick me on a return flight the next morning. Meanwhile, my family was in a hotel a few miles away with no idea where I was. I couldn’t communicate with anyone. I had no food. I was trapped, and there was nothing I could do about my situation.
We’ve all experienced moments of helplessness, utterly unable to do anything that would affect any movement, much less achieve a remedy. The three women who came early Sunday morning to Jesus’ tomb were living such a moment. Hours earlier, their every hope had been buried in this tomb. Interestingly, these are the exact same three women who had seen Jesus die (Mark 15:40). There probably were a few others present, but Mark emphasized that these three women had seen it all, from Jesus’ final breath to the cave where His lifeless body lay.
What does one do when death comes and we’re helpless against it? Both Marys and their friend Salome took oil and herbs to put on Jesus’ body. These mourning women could not stop the ruin and death. They could only try to minimize the stench.
We experience something similar whenever we meet a death of any sort (a marriage, a job, a dream). We can’t stop death. The best we can do is to try and make death smell a little better. And cry for mercy.
The exciting news is that when we do cry for mercy, we’re crying to the One who has already conquered death. As the angel declared at Jesus’ empty tomb: “He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead!” (Mark 16:6).
NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: 2 Samuel 13:20-39
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