These are the questions the risen Christ asked Mary Magdalene as she wept by the empty tomb. She was devastated because the body of the man she had followed for several years was missing. As if witnessing Him die an excruciating death on the cross wasn’t agonizing enough, His missing corpse deepened her mourning further. She didn’t get it. If she had, she’d have leapt for joy and her tears would have been those of pure happiness.

So Jesus asks her who it was she sought. Was it a dead body, or the one who could give her eternal life? He asks each of us the same thing. Who are we looking for? A teacher or a Savior? A man who had some good suggestions for wise living and remained dead, or the one who still has the power to give us life?

Oftentimes in the midst of our sorrow and bewilderment, we wonder where God is in it all. He is right there, but we can’t see that because our emotions cloud our focus. He may manifest Himself in a hymn verse, a friend’s kindness, or in a passage in the Bible we never took notice of before. Maybe a delicate flower peeking through the concrete reminds us we do have the strength we need in Him. Perhaps a sunset helps us realize there is beauty in our lives by His grace.

When Jesus called her by name, “Mary,” she at last knew who spoke to her. He redirected her focus onto him. When we refocus, we look beyond the situation to witness the power of our loving God.

Dearest Lord, help us look to you when circumstances are overwhelming. Redirect our focus onto you so we can realize that, above all else, your presence is the most important thing of all. Everything else is secondary. Amen.

Throughout this day: Today, if your mood darkens, try the practice of spiritual breathing:

Just as you need to constantly breathe physically, you need to breathe spiritually, too. You can try spiritual breathing to rely on the Holy Spirit by faith throughout your day. When you realize you’ve sinned, or when temptation, stress or doubt weighs on your mind, you can…

Exhale: admit your sin to God — no excuses — take full responsibility for your mistake and resolve not to repeat it. Let go of worry, fear, or self-reliance.

Inhale: rely on God to fill you by his Spirit. Receive His hope, confidence, forgiveness, and power to make better choices.

Tags: Hope Risen Lord John 20