Bible Verse: So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Matthew 28:8

Scripture Reading: Matthew 28:5-8

Recently, my church lost a beloved sister in Christ. It was very sudden and totally unexpected. She was overseas at a family reunion when she came down with a virus; in three days, it had taken her life. She was only 59.

We were all devastated. We had so many questions and so few answers. It just seemed so unreal—and still seems unreal. I remembered talking to her just as she and her husband were getting ready to leave. It never dawned on me that this would be our last conversation.

As I tried to process what had just happened, I was reminded again that our lives belong to the One who created us; he gives us life and he takes it back at the moment and in the manner of his choosing. What a display of fearful, awesome power that we had just witnessed in the passing our friend! What a sobering reminder of our own mortality!

And yet … I could not help but rejoice for my friend, because she was now, and would for all eternity remain, in the presence of her Lord. I give thanks too that her suffering was brief. What a gracious, compassionate God we serve!

Being “afraid yet filled with joy” are not conflicting emotions. For these two women as they pondered what had happened to Jesus’ body, I believe both reactions speak to their faith in the angel’s words. Yes, they’re afraid. But it was not a paralyzing fear born of worry or anxiety; instead it was a holy fear, a reverential awe at what God had done, that produced in them an intense joy. This in turn gave them the incentive and the empowerment to run and tell the disciples the good news—Jesus is alive!

There is a fearful joy in knowing that because Jesus was raised from the dead, so we too who are in Christ will also rise from death to eternal life. My friend is not dead. She is alive in Christ, and we will see her again.

— Frank Stirk, author of Streams in the Negev: How God is Starting to Transform Vancouver


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