Girlfriends in God - June 17, 2010

June, 17, 2010 

Remembering to Remember 

Sharon Jaynes

Today's Truth 
"But Mary treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart" (Luke 2:19 NIV).

Friend To Friend 
Mary, now in her late forties, was startled from her mending with a pounding on the door.  Who would come here at this time of night, she wondered.

"John," she cried as she peered through the slightly opened door.  "What are you doing here?  Is it Jesus?"

"Oh Mary, I don't even know where to begin," he whispered as tears streamed down his agonized face.

"Come in, come in," Mary said as she wrapped her arm around Jesus' closest friend. 

"Start at the beginning."

"Well, we had a nice Passover dinner on Thursday, but I could tell that Jesus was deeply troubled.  There was just a different air about him.  He even washed our feet and spoke about leaving us.  Something about going to a place where we didn't know.  Of course Peter said he would follow him to the death. You know how Peter boasts."

"Yes, go on."

"After dinner we went to the Garden of Gethsemane.  Jesus talked to us as we walked along the road, as if he were a father telling his sons the family secret to success before leaving to go off to war.  He was so unsettled and bothered about something.  When we arrived at the Garden, he told us to pray for him while he went off to be by himself.  I'm sorry to say, we fell asleep several times.  Once, I overhead Jesus asking God to let this cup pass from him.  When I looked, Jesus had blood dripping from his brow where sweat should have been.

"Just before I was going to ask him about it, an angry mob of Romans came and arrested him!"

"Arrested him?  For what?" Mary cried.

"I don't know.  Something about blaspheming.  And guess who was at the head of the pack?  Judas.  I never did trust that man."

John went on to tell Mary of the trial, the flogging and the ultimate sentencing of execution by crucifixion."

With great resolve, Mary looked John in the eye and said, "Take me to him."

It seems that all her life Mary had been trying to save Jesus.  She remembered when she and Joseph fled to Egypt to escape Herod's decree to kill all the boy babies under two-years-old in Bethlehem.  He recalled the day she and her sons tried to convince Jesus to come home when she heard rumors that the Pharisees were plotting to kill him.  And now this. 

Mary recalled the words of Simeon the prophet when she and Joseph took their baby to the temple to be consecrated to the Lord: "This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed.  And a sword will pierce your own soul too" (Luke 2:34-35).  This was Simeon's sword, piercing her heart with a pain only a mother could understand. 

Arriving on the Via de la Rosa, Mary watched with horror as her first-born son trudged through the jeering crowd. His flesh hung in shreds, torn by floggings of the Roman metal tipped whip. His clothes were crusted with dried blood and mud from collapsing under the weight of the cross tied to his back, and streaks of crimson cut furrows down his face from the crown of thorns pressed into his forehead. 

When Jesus reached the place where his mother stood among the crowd, he raised his head to meet her gaze.  A thousand thoughts passed between them without a single spoken word.  She was there, just as she had been all along.

Later, as he hung on the cross, Jesus breathed his final parting words.

"Dear woman, here is your son," Jesus moaned as he nodded toward John.

And then to John he said, "Here is your mother."

Even in his last breaths, Jesus' concern was for this chosen girl from Nazareth - his mother Mary.

Mary had been there all along.  She was there to hear the babe's first cry in Bethlehem and there to hear the Savior's final breath at Calvary.

We don't have a lot of information about Mary at the foot of the cross, except that she was there - standing below her flesh torn, blood drenched, and physically battered, precious son.  I have painted a picture today in order to help us catch a glimpse of a mother's heart.

We do know she heard the hammer hit the nails, saw the Roman spear pierce his side, felt the labor of his breathing.  As his heart burst, her chest ached.  For six hours she watched him die. Pierced.  How perfectly that word described her at this moment.  The sword that had hung over her head for thirty-three-years now pierced her heart.

It must have seemed like an eternity since a symphony of angels announced his birth.  Now a cacophony of accusers hurled insults and accusations.  "Crucify him!" the savage rabble demanded.  "He could save others but he can't save himself," the burly soldiers taunted. 

Where are those angels now, she must have thought.  If she could have peered into the spiritual realm, she would have found them hovering low, silent in full armor array.

It is difficult to envision God's presence surrounding the tragedies in our lives.  Somehow the two don't seem to be able to co-exist in our minds.  It is almost incomprehensible to picture the angles standing by while mere humans taunted and tortured the Son of God.  What do we do when life doesn't make sense?  We remember.

            Mary remembered Gabriel's announcement. 
            Mary remembered Elizabeth's welcome. 
            Mary remembered Joseph's dreams. 
            Mary remembered the shepherd's arrival. 
            Mary remembered the Magi's gifts. 
            Mary remembered Simeon's prophesy. 
            Mary remembered Anna's words. 
            Mary remembered the twelve-year old boy in His Father's house. 
            Mary remembered the water transformed to wine. 
            Mary remembered the miracles. 
            Mary remembered the teaching. 
            Mary remembered the healings. 
            Mary remembered.

After the shepherds' visit in the stables that first Christmas evening, Luke tells us, "Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart" (Luke 2:19).  No doubt her thoughts returned to that treasure chest of memories for the reassurance she so needed. The events of Jesus' life slipped through her mind like beads on a string with the knot of faith tied securely in the end.

And friend, that is what we must do.  The Bible tells us that in Christ "are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Colossians 2:3).  When we treasure God's Word in our hearts, just as Mary did in hers, it calms the waves of doubt during the storms of life.  The storm may not be removed, but God's Word will help us to hold steady as the difficulties of life toss us to and fro. 

Let's Pray 
Dear Heavenly Father, as life tosses me to-and-fro, help me to remember.  Help me to remember Your promises.  Help me remember the ways You have blessed me in the past.  You are my Rock, my Redeemer, and my Restorer.  And though I may not always understand, I know that Your ways serve a greater purpose in my life than I may ever know.

In Jesus' Name, 

Now It's Your Turn 
I doubt Mary kept a journal, but if she had, wouldn't you love to see it?  Today, I want you to make a list of the ways God has blessed you over the years.  Keep it in a place that you can refer to often. As you remember certain blessings, go back to your list and jot them down.

If you do not keep a journal of prayer requests and God's answers, you might want to consider starting one.  A prayer journal is a great source of encouragement during the difficult times of life.  We have very short memories when it comes to remembering God's goodness to us.  Writing them down will help us treasure them in our hearts.

More From The Girlfriends 
Today's devotion was taken from Sharon's new book, What God Really Thinks about Women: Finding Your Significance through the Women Jesus Encountered. We tend to read the gospels with our twenty-first century eyes.  But when we understand how oppressive the culture Jesus stepped into was against women, we begin to understand just how radical Jesus' ministry, messages, and miracles were at setting women free. He risked His reputation to save theirs…and yours.  To order this life-changing book, visit  You'll fall in love with Jesus all over again.

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Originally published Thursday, 17 June 2010.