Woman, why are you weeping?

This morning as the sun rose, I thought about Mary and how her experience is my experience, too.

Early Sunday morning, she stood weeping outside the tomb, heartbroken, feeling lost and alone. As she turned away from the darkened void, Jesus said to her “Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you seeking?” Thinking HE was the gardener, she begged, “Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.”Jesus said her name, “Mary.”She turned and said to HIM, “Rabboni!”

How often has Jesus spoken those same words to me as I wept:

“Woman, why are you weeping?

“Who are you seeking?”

As I wept over childish heartbreaks–hurt feelings and disappointments too big for my little hands to fix; as I wept over the pain of failed young love followed by pangs of loneliness and doubts about my worth, He would be there, waiting as I wept, waiting for me to turn my face away from the loss.

Then HE softly asks, “Woman. why are you weeping? Who are you seeking?”

Slowly he lets my heart recognize Him as he speaks my name—the name engraved on a white stone that HE holds–a name that HE will give me and that only I know, a name that I hear in my heart when He calls, in such a deep place that my mind can’t comprehend it but my heart feels it.

As I wept after the phone rang on a Thursday night, stealing away my best friend, as I wept sitting by his grave with his daughters, Jesus waited. He let me weep. When I turn away from the darkened void toward Him, HE whispers, “Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you seeking?”

He listens for my answer, HE hears my confused and broken heart. He hears me crying. Then HE speaks my name, and my heart recognizes my teacher. He reminds me that the grave holds only an empty tent, that my best friend won’t come back to me, that the father of these two beautiful and precious blue-eyed girls can’t come back to them (something only death could prevent!) but that we can go to where he is–because of Jesus.

Each time I weep, HE waits for me. HE never says, ‘stop weeping.’ He lets me weep and HE waits. When I turn toward HIM, he asks, “Woman why are you weeping?” HE knows and yet HE asks. He wants to hear my heart speak. He knows my answer will be naive and confused and full of sobs and snorts and hiccups–barely intelligible at times, but HE listens. HE wants me to tell HIM. He wants to hear my cry. HE doesn’t reason or explain or chastise.

He listens. Then HE speaks my white-stone-secret name. I feel HIS love for me and know the answer.

“Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you seeking?”

And I answer, “Jesus.”

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