By Arch Hoercher
Have you ever felt like you were trapped in the darkness with no way out? Do you suffer from chronic pain with no relief? Have you ever lost a child? Has the doctor told you that you have cancer? Are you physically handicapped due to an accident or illness? You ask the question, will I ever see the light again?
God has made us a promise. God is incapable of an untruth. If He says that He will do something, it will be done. He keeps His promises. Every promise that God has made has been kept or will be kept. That is something that can be counted on.
What promise am I referring to? This one begins with, “Weeping may last through the night” (Ps 30:5a NLT). We know all about weeping. Go ask the person suffering from cancer or the widow who just lost her husband or the parents with a critically ill child in the hospital. Weeping can last the night and possible the next night and the next and the next. But there is a promise given. The next sentence (Ps 30:5b NLT) states, “Joy comes with the morning.” The promise God gives to his children is that joy WILL come in the morning. Joy will come. We should live with that promise. I do not know when the joy will come but it will come. The clouds might cover the sun but the sun is still there. The clouds cannot destroy the sun. Overwhelming despair might grip your heart, but joy will come. The night may seem to last forever, but the morning will come and with it will come joy.
Look at the story of Mary Magdalene. Before she knew Jesus she was possessed by 7 demons (Luke 8:2). The number 7 in the Bible represents completeness. You could say that Mary Magdalene was completely consumed by sickness and trouble and darkness. She was trapped in the darkness of the night. There appeared to be no way out. The coming of the morning seemed to be an impossibility. Then something happened. Jesus came into her life. He spoke and the demons ran for the hills never to inflict Mary Magdalene again. The morning came! For the first time in a very long time she was well. And with the morning came the joy.
From a demon possessed woman living in unspeakable pain and sorrow and darkness, she burst into the light. Mary found Jesus and Jesus found Mary. From misery and death to life more abundantly. Mary found the promise of God – Joy. She became one of Jesus’ more devout followers. Luke 8:3 tells us that Mary Magdalene helped to pay the expenses of Jesus’ ministry. Wherever Jesus went the lamb (Mary Magdalene) was soon to follow. John 19:25 tells us that she stood near the cross during Christ’s crucifixion. She was there when He was nailed to the cross and when His side was pierced by the spear. She was there when He said “Why hast thou forsaken me” and saw Jesus take His last breath. She was there when His body was lowered from the cross and helped to prepare it for burial.
Mary Magdalene was back in the darkness and weeping. The person who had changed her life forever was gone. John 20:1 tells us that early on the first day of the week Mary went to the tomb while it was still dark. Mary Magdalene arrived at the tomb and bad got to worse. The stone had been rolled away. She assumed that grave robbers had taken His body. She went back and told John and Peter. Peter saw that the stone slab of the tomb was empty. Peter and John went off to tell the others what had happened. But Mary Magdalene remained at the tomb. Verse 11 tells us that “Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping”. “Weeping may last through the night.” What Mary thought to be men, but were actually angels asked her (verses 11-13) “Woman, why are you weeping?” She responded, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.”
Again, Mary Magdalene’s life hit the bottom. From the great Joy she knew when Jesus was alive to the sorrow and depression of His death and His body being stolen. Mary was again trapped in the night. But again, something miraculous happened to Mary Magdalene. The morning came and the “Son” came out! Verses 14 to 15 tells us that Jesus appeared before Mary. At first she did not recognize Him, but then He called her name out and she saw that it was Jesus Christ standing before her. Weeping may last through the night, but then the joy will come. Mary, again, was overcome with joy.
The story of Mary Magdalene is one of great importance. Jesus Christ arose as the King of Kings. He had just conquered death, ripped the gates of hell off their hinges and tore the power from Satan’s hands. The Lord of the entire universe; the commander of legion upon legion of angels; the creator of everything that is; appeared to Mary Magdalene first. Why not to the Pharisees and the Chief Priest? Why not to the rulers of the world? Why not to Peter or John? Why to Mary Magdalene who once was possessed by 7 demons.
I believe that Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene first because of a very important reason. A reason that is close to Jesus’ heart. He was reminding all those who love Him of a very important promise. Jesus was sending a message to all those people with heavy hearts. “Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning” (Ps 30:5 NLT). God knew your name before the foundation of the world. He loves you with a love that cannot be defined. He even loves those who do not love him. If you take the first step toward Jesus, He will come running to you. No matter what you are going through, keep your eyes and heart turned towards Jesus, because the morning will come. It may not be today or tomorrow or even next year, but the morning will come. And when the morning comes it will bring a joy beyond description.