From mourning to joy
Jesus said, "Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, 'I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'" Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: "I have seen the Lord!" And she told them that he had said these things to her.
JOHN 20:17-18, NIV
Have you experienced a moment when your sadness or grief turned into joy?
After Maundy Thursday, the disciples' lives will be filled with sadness and grief as Jesus is crucified on Good Friday. Nevertheless, John 20:17-18 is part of the story of the resurrection of Jesus. Mary Magdalene had been mourning the death of Jesus, but suddenly she was filled with joy when she saw Him alive. This is a powerful reminder that joy awaits us on the other side, even when we may be in the depths of sorrow.
As we read the story of Mary Magdalene, we see that she was devoted to Jesus and loved Him deeply. When she went to the tomb on that first Easter morning, she was filled with grief and despair at the thought of His death. Her sorrow became devastating when she arrived at the tomb, discovered the empty tomb, and thought someone had taken Jesus' body.
But when she encountered the risen Christ, everything changed. Jesus told her to go and share the news of His resurrection with the disciples, and Mary joyfully obeyed. In an instant, her mourning turned to joy, and she became a witness to the good news of the gospel.
This is a powerful testimony that even in our darkest moments, God is present and working for our good. Just as Mary Magdalene's mourning turned into joy, God can transform our pain into purpose and our sorrow into joy.
Imagine a seed that has been planted in the ground. It may seem like nothing is happening for a time, and the soil remains dark and barren. But underneath the surface, the seed grows, and something new takes shape. In the same way, when we are in sadness or mourning, it may seem as though nothing is changing. But God is at work, and just like a seed growing into a beautiful plant, our sorrow can turn into joy.
Recently, I lost my brother, Chris, to illness. I was devastated and couldn't imagine life without him. However, as I leaned on God's strength to get through each day, I saw glimpses of joy and the hope it brings. In moments of prayer and reflection, I remembered the promise of eternal life and our hope in Christ. Slowly but surely, my mourning turned into joy as I experienced God's peace and comfort. I also shared my testimony of God's goodness with others, bringing them hope.
Remember that joy is possible when experiencing sadness or grief. God is with you and is at work, even if you can't see it yet. Lean into your faith and trust that God will bring you safely through to the other side. And if you're already experiencing joy, share it with others as Mary Magdalene did. Be a witness to the power of God to transform our pain into purpose and our sorrow into joy.
Prayer: Dear God, I thank you for the gift of joy and the hope it brings. Help me to always remember that even in my darkest moments, you are present and working for good. Help me to trust in your plan and to have faith that you will bring me safely through to the other side. Fill me with your love and peace, and help me witness the power of your transformation in my life. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.
Today’s Challenge: Reflect on a moment when your sadness or grief turned into joy. Think about how God was present in your life during that difficult time and how God worked to transform your pain into purpose and your sorrow into joy. Share your story of joy and hope with someone who might be going through a similar experience. By sharing your testimony, you can help others see the joy and hope it brings on the other side of their pain. Remember, just like Mary Magdalene, we can be witnesses to God's transformative power in our lives.
Danny C. Murphy
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Rev. Dr. Danny Murphy, SR.
The ultimate aim of Trinity Presbytery is to equip and empower our member congregations to become communities of faith, hope, love, witness and service, so that those who do not know Jesus might come to know, love and serve him and so that those who do know Jesus might come to love him more intimately and serve him more faithfully.