They say a picture tells a thousand words.... that's an English idiom referring to the notion that a complex idea can be conveyed with just a single image....
To some people daffodils, bunny rabbits and pretty painted eggs convey the message of "EASTER".... but to me Easter is summed up in a beautiful painting called Why Weepest thou?... by Liz Lemon Swindle ...
As you can see, it is a picture of Mary Magdalene (the first to see Jesus after he had risen from the tomb). She is depicted as being deep in grief and unaware of the presence of her beloved Saviour who is standing by watching on.
We first bought the painting to put in hubby's office when he was called to serve as a Bishop.... it sat behind his desk for his five year stint and when his time as bishop was over, we brought it home to hang above the piano in our living room.
I've contemplated that picture many times and it has spoken volumes to me. Volumes that can't really be expressed in words.
Do you ever feel that no one understands what you have to go through in life? Do you ever feel alone? There have been many times over the years that I have felt that way... like no one could understands what my trials are and going through times when I have felt isolated and lonesome. After all, no one CAN completely understand your trial... unless they go through it in the exact same way. At times I have even felt like God has put his ear plugs in and stopped listening to my endless requests!
If you do feel like that from time to time then we are both in good company... even Christ himself felt alone and forsaken by his father when he hung on the cross.... that day many years ago.
God, however, has NOT forgotten us....He is always there.... ever present listening and fulfilling our requests...even if it is according to his own timing. His son, our Saviour, also knows our every pain (physical and emotional), every temptation, sickness, infirmity, anguish and unfairness we suffer...indeed he knows and has felt our every weakness exactly the same as we have. But why does this have to be the case? Why do we have to go through times of loneliness and trial? These weaknesses are given to us to make us more humble, they are given to us to learn how to overcome them and they are given to us so that we can become reliant upon His Grace.
It's a "natural man" tendency to rely upon our own strength, or for us to pray for our trails to be removed. There have been many times when in the depth of my discouragement or grief that I have prayed for my trials to end ....even now as I type away I can hear Heni doing her habitual moaning in the other room...it goes on and on and on. I don't know why she does it... she just does! It's one of those noises that I just can't stand ...it's one of the minor trials, but I just plain wish it would stop! I often pray that it would! When it continues on and on, I wonder what it is that I am supposed to be learning from it.
I often feel like Mary in the picture... I am in discomfort, praying for help but I can't always see or feel His help (presence). I often look for it... sometimes I do see it and I am quick to write it down to remind myself of his hand in my life...At other times, I feel like I am left to struggle on without divine help or assistance.
Perhaps at those times I should been praying more earnestly for my inability, weaknesses and imperfections to be strengthened beyond my natural capacity? To have the strength to be able to bear it better? Instead of having my trials removed...perhaps I should be praying to be given the power and strength to endure? Or to ask for that peace, comfort and direction that only He can bestow...or even praying for the ability and strength to change my own circumstances? Maybe to even to see more abundantly his tender mercies in my life?
Earlier in the week I attended a "silent" lesson... no words were spoken by the teacher, just pictures and quotes were projected on to a screen as we sat in the silence and contemplated the life and mission of Christ. The quietness and time to reflect allowed impression and thought to appear that would have otherwise been drowned out. I came away with the reassurance that no matter how imperfect, impure, weak, mistake prone and ungrateful we are... He loves each one of us deeply... and he is Always there, even when we don't see or feel his help. He will always be there for us, never let us down and will always have our back... and even when we feel he is nowhere to be seen, he is ever present... standing by.... waiting for us to ask, call and pray for some divine assistance so that He can wipe away all our tears.
This weekend amid the family gatherings, food and chocolate egg hunts, I would urge you to find a moment of quiet and solitude and take a closer look at the picture of Mary and Jesus. Maybe that picture will speak to you as it has to me... not in words, but impressions and feelings of the heart. I hope that you take the time to remember the one who knows us perfectly. He gave his life on the cross for each of us. He loves everyone of us and even though you may not believe it...He is always there.
I hope that this Easter each one of you will be able to feel of his love and know of his presence.
Wishing you all a Happy Easter.
If you feel like spending some time over Easter learning about the gift of Grace then you can find one of my favourite talks below.