Life on earth is a mixture. We may want it to be purely one thing or another, but in fact it’s a combination of bad, sometimes desperate things and good, even silver linings. There are hues and shadows as well as rich colors. This isn’t a statement of moral relativism. It’s just reality. This mixture is the product of our fall. When we, the human race, chose to sin we chose to suffer, and in that suffering God's grace was ready to bring hope, comfort and healing. Grace anticipates a mix. Every dark cloud has a ray of hope and every bright day has a threat on the horizon.
Before we despair, we need to remember that God's grace is in the mixture and God does the mixing. We deserve all darkness. Hell is described as a place of "utter darkness" and that is what I deserve. But the grace of God brings hope and healing, transforming what we deserve into what we can never deserve.
Sitting with a friend in the fight of his life against a powerful cancer, I marvel at the grace of God sustaining him and giving him profound perspective. He cannot explain it, nor can I, but he is grateful for the insights God is giving to him, and even though he would rather not have the threat of death hanging over him, he would not trade it for the grace he finds from God.
Two women with the same name, Mary of Magdalena and another who was known as "the other Mary," made their way to the tomb where Jesus' body was lying. They courageously took on the task of cleaning up the mess others made and tying the loose ends surrounding the horrifying death they could not look upon nor turn their eyes from. Light was breaking in the east, but they knew that the darkness best set the mood of their hearts. Sorrow wore on them like thick uncomfortable wool. The steps they took were slow and painful. They moved forward out of love for the man who died.
Several confusing things suddenly happened. A violent earthquake shook, a brilliant angelic visitor appeared, slamming the guards surrounding the tomb of Jesus on the ground. The two Marys were overwhelmed, which explains the angel’s words: "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here, he is risen, just as he said."
When the two Marys left to tell the others, the Bible simply says in Matthew 28:8: "So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples."
Did you see the mix? Afraid yet filled with joy? Get used to glorious experiences mixed in the less than wonderful realities. Joy in the midst of fear. Love in the midst of heartache. Peace in the midst of the storm. These are but the fringes of God's power, but do not deny this is God's power. Thank God that a day is coming when there will be no more mixture. Today I rejoice in the mix. I expect it now, even look for it, less grudgingly than before, actually, because I know He is in the mix.