Tiptoeing down stairs so I wouldn’t wake up the rest of the house, I felt like a kid at Christmas, checking to see if Santa had come yet. Unlike my friend Jack, morning was my favorite part of the day. I loved to revel in its quietness, as the package of a new day was before me. I just couldn’t imagine not experiencing its ambiance.
Today, however, I glanced at the clock nervously. This was the big day, when Jack and I would sign the papers and go into business together. But when the appointed pick-up time came, the phone rang. Sure enough, it was Jack.
“I’m running late, he yawned sleepily. “I need a big, strong cup of black coffee before we start. Do you know where we can get one?”
“Sure,” I said, and 15 minutes later we drove to a nearby coffee shop.
It was one of those 24-hour joints, but we were the only ones there. Slouched over in his seat, Jack remained silent until his cup was nearly drained.
Grinning, he admitted, “You’d think I would have been raring to go on our big day, but I needed a push from my wife to get me out of bed. I guess my alarm wasn’t enough this morning. I really feel sorry for the people who don’t like coffee, but I’ll make one exception. The dearest of them is my wife. I can forgive, though. That means more for me!”
I laughed, and the two of us took care of our business dealings. Then Jack and I celebrated by having the Egg On Your Face breakfast. It was a bottomless egg dish prepared to individual taste, offering a choice of chese along with sausage, ham or bacon, covered by a blanket of hash browns.
When we couldn’t eat any more, I leaned back contentedly, sipping my last cup of coffee slowly. I didn’t realize it then, but my life was about to change forever.
Jack and I are both Christians, but he is a little bit older, and he often has words of wisdom to share. So I didn’t object when he pulled out his phone and opened his Bible app. Then he began to speak slowly.
“Sometimes I think we can be overly concerned with the wrong priorities. I don’t want our legitimate business concerns to become obsessive, and subtly change our focus.”
I didn’t give his words much credence until he brought up the subject of the first appearance of Jesus after the resurrection. Out of the blue, he invited me to turn to the 20th chapter of John’s gospel in my own Bible app. Then, pointing to verses 15 and 16, he started to read out loud.
“‘Dear woman, why are you crying?’ Jesus asked her. ‘Who are you looking for?’ She thought He was the gardener. ‘Sir,’ she said, ‘if you have taken Him away, tell me where you have put Him, and I will go and get Him.’
“‘Mary!’ Jesus said. She turned toward Him and exclaimed, ‘Teacher!'”
I spoke up then. “Jack, you’ve lost it for sure. It isn’t even close to Easter. Staying up to meet these business deadlines has driven you crazy.”
Then Jack said something that really got me thinking.
“That’s exactly my point. Sometimes the Lord has to use something unusual, or make an unexpected appearance, to get us to pay attention. I felt like God led me to this passage of scripture, so I examined it more carefully in the light of what we are doing.
“Mary’s concerns were sincere, but they were sincerely wrong. She wanted to know where they had lain Jesus–a perfectly logical question. But Jesus had told His disciples that He would rise. But instead of trusting Him, Mary tried to figure things out on her own–that is, until the Master’s voice stopped her cold. I think you and I can be a lot like Mary.”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Just this. We get so busy looking for the Lord through the glasses of our own agendas that we fail to see Him when He appears, or to trust Him with what is unknown to us. Just as He spoke Mary’s name at the empty tomb, Jesus wants to call us all out of our emptiness and fear.”
I silently thought about this for a minute, and then said in a far-away tone, “Thank you for sharing that, Jack. From this day forward, my life will no longer be the same. What I thought would be all about paperwork was primarily about a work that God wanted to do in me.”
Jack only smiled. “It is that way with all of us, but in order to receive His words, we have to have the ears to hear His voice. Instead of being wrapped up too tightly in the blanket of anxiety, we need to embrace the empty tomb, letting Him pour the fullness of joy into our hearts by making an unexpected appearance.”
Thank you for reading this, and may the Lord give you a wonderful week! We are trying to reach people who are hurting, so if God lays it on your heart, please consider becoming a partner with us. If you would like to make a donation, please visit www.hcmachaplains.org and click on the Donate Now link. You can also send donations by mail to HCMA (Healthcare Chaplains Ministry Association). Our ID number is 560. The address is 101 S Kraemer BLVD, Suite 123A, Placentia, CA 92870.
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