Shift in Focus

Written by Lois Engebretson

I know I shouldn’t be, but I am often surprised by scripture. I’m surprised at how a passage of scripture, clearly about one thing, can speak to me in a totally different way. It shouldn’t surprise me, but it often does. Such was the case on June 1 of this year.
I found myself reading John 20:15-30. You know, the story of the resurrection. But that morning instead of relishing in the glory of the resurrection, my heart, thoughts, and focus immediately went to a crying Mary, fearful disciples, and Thomas, who had doubts. In addition, I was struck by Jesus’ actions and response to them. In spite of the fact that Jesus had told them what would happen, (they shouldn’t have been crying, fearful, or doubting), He sought them out and spoke to them. He wanted to reassure them He was there. As I sat reading that morning with my tears, fears, and doubts, Jesus spoke to me, too.
This past summer was an interesting one for me. After being couped up for over a year I looked forward to things getting back to normal. Things were moving in the right direction, but what was taking place was not exactly what I had envisioned.
It was the beginning of summer; I was vaccinated and ready to move on. But in addition to the changes COVID had made in my life, my children were dealing with changes and this mother bear started into protection mode.
During the pandemic, I had already seen my three adult boys making major decisions about their careers. Major decisions are one thing, but during a pandemic they are another. Not only did those decisions deal with moves within established careers, each family was about to deal with a physical move of some type that would have a definite impact on all of them. While these things by themselves can be good, happening all at once during pandemic caused much unrest for this mother bear.
Like Mary Magdalene, the disciples, and Timothy, what was normal and familiar was changing. But there was Jesus, right after rising from the dead, offering them comfort and peace. He was more concerned with showing love and compassion than he was with questioning why they didn’t trust. And that morning in my living room Jesus offered the same to me.
I felt Him say, “It’s okay to have these feelings. I am here with you, with your children, and I understand.” Jesus was saying to those in this passage of scripture and to me, “I am here; I told you I’d always be here for you.”

Similar to Mary Magdalene, I was sad and confused. I wanted answers.

Similar to the disciples, I was fearful. What was going to happen next? How were things going to play out? Were these choices and decisions good ones?

Similar to Timothy, I had doubts. I needed to be sure that all the changes were really God’s will. There had been some no’s for all of my children. I needed to know the current choices and yes’s were really from God.
Somehow through my tears, fears, questions, and doubts, Jesus’ words and actions in this familiar scripture gave me new insight and comfort. While everything going on in my family didn’t resolve immediately, I was thankful Jesus let me know He was there.
Jesus has promised us He will never leave us…even when we fail to trust. It doesn’t matter what day it is or what events are taking place, Jesus is always willing to meet us in our sadness, fears, questions, and doubts. I shouldn’t have been surprised.

One Response to “Shift in Focus”

  1. Lorraine Smith says:

    Sometimes fear of the unknown makes us worry. We all know that God tells us not to worry because He is with us always. So, why do we worry? We seem to want to help God in many times.

    Why don’t we realize that we need to go to God first tell him our fears and let Him take care of them. I have learned this the hard way.

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