And very early in the morning the first day of the week they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun.
Faith is not always a champion which marches alone. Sometimes faith is accompanied by fear. Faith is not the absence of questioning; it is the presence of action in the midst of those questions. Faith does not provide all the answers; it provides a basis for confidence in the midst of unreasonable circumstances.
We do not fully understand how God takes oxygen and hydrogen, both of them odorless, tasteless, and colorless, and combines them with carbon, which is insoluble, black, and tasteless, to produce a beautiful, white, sweet substance we call sugar. Although we do not have all the answers as to how God accomplishes this, in the midst of our circumstances we accept God's product on faith. Real faith is "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1). Faith is trusting God when you cannot see through the fog.
It was early Easter Sunday morning when Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome set out on a mission of faith. These women had covenanted among themselves to purchase spices that were needed to embalm the body of Jesus. They could not do so until after dusk on Saturday. So when the Sabbath was passed, the women purchased the sweet spices that they might come to the tomb of Joseph and there make the body of the Lord Jesus ready for burial.
It was very early in the morning the first day of the week that they came to the sepulcher, at the rising of the sun (Mark 16:2). With the spices that they had purchased the previous evening in hand, the women made their way through the dark streets of Jerusalem just before the sunrise of Sunday morning. As they approached the garden in which the tomb was located, they chattered among themselves, questioning how they would gain access to the tomb. Here is a grand example of faith amid questions. The women could not themselves roll away the stone, for it was simply too cumbersome to do so. Yet they did not stay at home and attend a seminar on stone-rolling, argue the pros and cons of gaining entrance to the tomb, or form a committee to study the problem. In the midst of their concerns about how they would gain entrance to the tomb, they steadily progressed toward the tomb in faith. Faith is not the absence of questions; it is the presence of action amidst those questions.
Once an ocean liner was engulfed in a dense fog off the coast of Newfoundland. It was Wednesday evening and the captain had been on the bridge for more than 24 hours, when he was startled by someone tapping him on the shoulder. As he turned, he saw the great man of prayer and faith, George Mueller. The concerned Mueller stated, "Captain, I must be in Quebec on Saturday afternoon." Expressing his dismay, the captain replied, "That's impossible!" The fog was so dense and the progress of the ship so slow that the captain knew they would never make it to shore on time. He mumbled, "I'm helpless!" Being a man of faith, George Mueller suggested, "Let's go down to the chart room and pray." The captain, who could see only his circumstances, replied, "Do you know how dense the fog is?"
"No," Mueller said, "My eye is not on the density of the fog, but on the living God who controls every circumstance of my life." The captain and Mueller left the bridge and went below where Mueller fell to his knees and prayed. Within a matter of minutes the fog lifted, the ocean liner progressed rapidly, and Mueller was in Quebec before Saturday.
If we are to live a life of faith, we must get our eyes off the stone before the tomb and on the God who does the impossible. The women knew the stone would keep them from their Lord, and yet they purchased their spices, readied themselves early in the morning, and made their way in the darkness toward the garden tomb. Faith is not being free from questions; faith is being firm in commitment to the power of God. How will you demonstrate your faith today?
MORNING HYMN May Thy rich grace impart Strength to my fainting heart, My zeal inspire; As Thou hast died for me, O may my love to Thee Pure, warm and changeless be A living fire!
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