Grief Transformed to Joy








“…Mary stood outside the tomb crying…”  John 20: 11

The Greek word translated crying is KLAIO.  It carries the meaning of not just crying softly with tears, but with every external expression of grief.

(My daughter Lydia has a self-made rule for life – -“cry like a winner – on the inside.” Her mother is much more demonstrative with her tears and, in fact, has been known to cry during previews as well as the movie!)

When it comes to tears, Mary would not be following my daughter’s mantra!  Mary is wailing.  Her grief cannot be contained.

The Lord she has loved and followed is gone.  She sees nothing but emptiness in her future.  She is lost and forlorn, without hope, and consumed with GRIEF.

She has a brief conversation with two men that scripture tells us are angels (although it doesn’t appear she knows that) and then she turns and sees someone there, but verse 14 says she doesn’t recognize Jesus immediately.  Some think He may have looked different in His resurrected form. I happen to agree with those who surmise that He was deliberately keeping her from recognizing Him immediately.

I think Jesus was enjoying this moment.  Just as we enjoy opportunities to  surprise and delight those we love, I think our Lord does as well.  And, after all, we were made in His image.

Jesus says, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”

Mary thinks he is the gardener and for the third time repeats the they-have-taken-him-away theory. And then Jesus says just one word. He says her name: Mary

And in that moment, her grief is transformed to JOY!

Her Lord is alive! She had witnessed His death.  She was there when He took His last breath.  She heard him say, “It is finished!” And now He stands before her alive!

Because Jesus is alive, Mary’s tears are gone.  Her despair becomes delight.  The resurrection changes everything!

Her grief is turned to JOY!

And because of the Resurrection:
The woman of God sees grief transformed to JOY!

Because of the resurrection, you and I can have JOY!

An awareness of our sin brings guilt and shame.  It brings a heaviness to our hearts, as we realize we are sinners and we cannot fix ourselves.

Sin brings darkness and death.  But because of Jesus – -because of the Resurrection – -darkness and death are transformed to light and life!

Our grief is turned to JOY!

Like the Sistine Chapel ceiling was transformed from somber to sensational, you and I can live joyful, colorful, vibrant lives because we live transformed by Jesus!

That transformation was evident on the day of our salvation, but it should also be a part of our sanctification – our daily choice to follow Him.  Our transformation was not just for that day – it’s for THIS day!

In His kindness, God continues to convict us. As we see sin in our lives – as we are convicted of getting it wrong, making those choices, saying those words that are inconsistent with the life of a woman of God — we grieve our sin.  But we grieve with hope of forgiveness.  And indeed, our burden of guilt is only a confession away.

Confess, receive his forgiveness and then see grief – -yet again – -transformed to JOY! We can live in a continual state of joy as we abide in Him!



Laura Macfarlan