Recently I’ve been thinking of those myrrh-bearing women who were the first to see Jesus raised from the dead. These women, who loved Jesus so intimately and only left His side when their obedience to God demanded it, were resolute about doing the next right thing even when their world has been turned upside down.
In the same way, I see the women whose homes and families were scattered by the horrific tornado that hit Moore, Oklahoma. Their faith made them steel magnolias as they steadied themselves against the horror that entered their lives. There has been great faith in the men, too, but the mothers and grandmothers have claimed my attention and admiration. They remind me of the women who followed Jesus so closely, supporting Him through good times and bad.
Both sets of women become unencumbered with blaming God, falling to pieces quite yet, or running away. Rather like the Oklahoma women who rushed back to the storm to find their children, accepted their losses and praised God for His protection, the myrrh-bearing women gathered their spices and rushed to the grave as early as they were able to give a proper burial to Jesus. They could not tear Him off the cross, but they could do what was in their power. The Scripture is very specific that they watched carefully the actions of Joseph and Nicodemus, who brought linens, spices of their own and a brand new tomb in which to lay Jesus’ body. It seems to me these good hearted men tried their best to care for Jesus’ body in a dignified way; perhaps it didn’t seem dignified enough to these women. There were more spices that needed to be administered, and perhaps the linens were not laid on the body quite right. The men’s actions were a good effort, but the women could not be detoured from their purpose. There was only one problem as they saw it: there was a very large stone too heavy for them to move alone.
What they didn’t know was that the stone would not be a problem; in fact, the myrrh they brought would not be necessary. God had done something they did not expect. Rather than tears and lament, they were going to find angels and be the first to learn and then to see that Jesus was risen from the dead.
A mother was told to expect to find her daughter dead when she got to the school in Oklahoma. She couldn’t turn back. She had to find her child dead or alive. She was one of the blessed moms who found that her daughter had been spared from death. Another woman had accepted that God had answered only her prayer that she be spared through the great winds and not the dog she held on her lap. While she was telling the story to a reporter, her dog whimpered underneath the debris. She gave glory to God for answering both her prayers in the midst of her totally demolished home.
It’s always right to do the next right thing. Pick up your myrrh and go about your sad business. When you are walking with God, never be surprised when what you expect is not what you experience or when you are blessed to take home your myrrh knowing you will need it for another day, but this is not that day. As Isaiah reminds us: “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9).