Mary stood in the shadow of the cross.
The Man who died on that cross was her Son.
From a human being's point of view, the life of Mary, mother of Jesus, was not one to be envied. As a girl, on the verge of womanhood, she was visited by an angel who told her she was with child by the Holy Ghost. She was betrothed to a good man, Joseph, whom I'm sure she respected, if not loved.
I wonder if she worried. I wonder if it was a struggle for her to simply trust in her Lord? What would Joseph do? What would her parents do? But God spoke again through his messenger Gabriel and Joseph took Mary as his wife... and claimed the baby as his by doing so. Can you imagine what their neighbors said? But Joseph and Mary believed.
Their lives forever tainted in the eyes of their countrymen.
There were those beautiful years when Jesus was growing up. A perfect human being for a son. Can you imagine? We don't know the details... in fact, I have a hard time even imaging what perfect is, in household life. Perhaps we have a glimpse when Jesus speaks to Martha about her sister when Martha complained that she had to do all of the work, while Mary sat at Jesus' feet and listened to him teach:
“Mary hath chosen the good part.”
And when Jesus left home. Imagine waiting for word about your son. Imagine knowing in your heart that someday, very soon, your son will die for the good of the entire world. Imagine keeping these things in your heart: knowing, waiting, pondering.
Our pastor preached a short message on Christ's death not long ago and he mentioned that if the family of Jesus had raised enough stink over him, the law demanded they set him free. But Mary said not one word. She let her son die.
Imagine having the faith and strength to do that. Even while your heart is breaking... and you are knowing pain as no other mother has.
I've been thinking about this a lot over the past few days and sometimes I think the essence of Jesus' life was uttered in one sentence.
When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, “Woman, behold thy son!” Then he saith to the disciple, “Behold thy mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.
Of all people on earth, you would think these two would be the strongest, would have the most faith. Of all on earth, they had loved him most and known him best. But Jesus knew that each needed someone to comfort the other. And even while he was dying and in great pain himself, he didn't forget those he loved.
He did not leave them comfortless.
The past few days, I've been really struggling with some issues in my life. Fear, desire... the feeling of a certain emptiness in my heart... wondering if God will ever see fit to fill it. But over the clamoring voices of my struggling, God's voice is always strongest.
And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever.
...and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
Remember in your darkest moments to look for God. As with His mother and friend, He will not leave you comfortless as you walk the dark valleys or reach the mountaintop. Over and over again, He is faithful and ever will be.