Focus 40 Day 26: Extreme Living—Growing by Remaining
Prayer Focus: Pray to please God in every way – Col. 1:10
Extreme Living—Growing by Remaining
Early on Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance.
—John 20:1 (NLT)
PETER, JOHN, AND MARY MAGDALENE went to Jesus’ garden tomb; it was empty! The disciples left. But Mary remained. Mary remained, standing outside the tomb sobbing because, as she explained moments later, she assumed someone stole her Lord’s body.
At first reading, it seems like just an insignificant detail: “But Mary remained.” Did you catch what happened as she remained, weeping: suddenly, she lit up like a blazing comet on a pitch-dark night because “Jesus said, ‘Mary.’ Turning to face him, she said in Hebrew, ‘Rabboni!’ meaning ‘Teacher!’” (John 20:16 MSG). The whole Christian community was bound by despair and fear! The Master had died! Everyone else deserted. But Mary remained until she saw Jesus!
In her waiting, on resurrection morning, as she paused alone for just another moment to reflect, Mary was the first person to see, face to face, the risen Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus fulfilled the desire of her heart! Why? Because she didn’t give up on Jesus. I wonder what we often miss, in our intercessory prayers, when we just throw up a quick little prayer for someone and then we cut and run. Don’t stop! Don’t cut and run when prayer seems unanswered, because help is on the way, in God’s timing!
Water, when heated to 211° F is very hot, but at 212° F it will move a locomotive; just one degree between standing still and moving. Mary stayed another degree, another moment after everyone else left. The reality thermometer rose one more degree; the locomotive of doubt, hopelessness, and despair moved as Jesus appeared! What if Mary had given up and left one minute earlier? She could have missed seeing Jesus that morning. But Mary remained and waited, and believed until the water hit 212° F. Jesus burst into her sorrow, and she knew: “He’s alive, just as he said!” How many times, in our hurried lives do we miss those God-answerable intercessory prayer opportunities? When you’re tempted to cut and run, to give up and quit, make the choice to remain. That, my friend, is the path to extreme living!
Lord, empower me to be one who walks with you in ways that empower me to be one who remains for those I love and lead in God-answerable intercessory prayer. May I not be among those who give up and quit one degree too soon. Help me remain in your presence until the Holy Spirit’s presence in me rises to the 212° F level, until I see the resurrection moments as you restore, deliver and raise to new life those I love and lead. And me too in those times when I move away from close contact with you and cool off! Bring me back; help me remain at the 212° F level in the Spirit, with you! Thanks. Amen.
Dr. Sam Bruce
Pastor, MACU Professor, and Transformation Team Member