Sometimes I have Sisyphean sissy fits.
“I want to see Jesus. I don’t see Jesus. Waaahhhhh!”
I sound like a child who was promised to see Santa but couldn’t.
Why Sisyphean? In English, the word “Sisyphean” has come to mean “”endless and unavailing, as labor or a task.” Or you might remember the myth of Sisyphus, in which king Sisyphus acts as if he’s equal to the gods and they punish him by condemning him to roll a huge rock up a steep hill. However, before he could ever get the rock to the top it always rolled back down, and the cycle would continue endlessly.
So why can’t I see Jesus in the midst of this life that seems so Sisyphean?
Here I am, reading and meditating on Mark 16 and the Resurrection of my Lord Jesus Christ. I know all the right theological things to think, I think. I could think about how strong God is to conquer death; I could remember to give thanks that He rose from the grave; I could even contemplate my own resurrection. All of these are wonderful things to think. And yet I still miss Jesus, and sometimes I can’t see Him or seem to experience His Resurrection.
I think it’s because I don’t have enough love or faith. At least I know I don’t have the love and faith of the women of the Gospels. Consider today the faith these women – Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome – manifested.
First, they offer Jesus the firstfruits of their lives, including their time. Notice when they go to find Jesus: “very early in the morning, on the first day of the week” (verse 2). They don’t wait until after they’ve slept in, and they don’t wait until someone else has first gone. They are like kids the night before Christmas who rise as early as is feasible to go and find their treasure.
Is this the way I seek Jesus?
Do I seek Him first thing in the morning, with great anticipation and desire? Is seeking Him an urgent business for me?
Second, they go to anoint His body. They fully expect to see only the dead body of Jesus, and yet they still go early to anoint it. Surely this could have waited. But not in the hearts and minds of these women.
Is this the way I seek Jesus?
Do I seek ways to anoint His body, to beautify and glorify Him? Do I desire His glory so much that even little ways I can give Him glory are important to me? There are times when He seems dead to me, or actually that I seem dead to Him. There are some days when I don’t seek Him first thing in the morning and expect to see Him alive in my life. Do I go anyway? Half of seeing Jesus, I’m convinced, is making the effort to see Him even when we’re not sure He’ll appear.
It’s like that in our life with Him, isn’t it. Even in that sacred time we each spend with Him in our private devotions or corporate worship, we don’t always feel or see Him, do we? Maybe we’ve prayed one day and felt the power of the Holy Spirit or the joy of His presence. And so we return the next day only to find that it feels like we’re just going through the motions. What happens on the third day, the day after we’ve been disappointed? Do we still get up with joyful anticipation and seek Him? Don’t be surprised when He doesn’t come one day the same way He came the day before: He wants you to seek Him – not an experience or feeling.
And maybe if we sought Him among the living, that is, is His Body, the Church, we’d find a body to anoint and beautify and take care of, no matter how decaying that Body may appear to be.
Third, they went not knowing how in the world they would roll the stone away. For all they knew, they would find a dead Jesus locked in a tomb they couldn’t access. But, out of faith and love and hope, they went anyway.
Is this the way I seek Jesus?
Do I have the faith that can remove stones from tombs, or am I so limited by my human sight that I don’t even dare to attempt to find Him? Have I been so disappointed by a Sisyphean life or so drugged by life into a catatonic state that I no longer make the effort I once made to see Him?
A miraculous thing happened when these faithful women went out in these ways to seek Jesus: they found Him! Initially, what they found was an empty tomb. Then, the angel appeared to them, and only then did Jesus appear to them.
Even after they had made the pilgrimage to see Him, they had to wait. They saw evidences of Him, signs and wonders that led them to Him. And so don’t be discouraged, my soul, if you do not see Him at first, but remain faithful.
Seek Him with the firstfruits of your life, with passion and persistence. Come looking for ways to glorify Him, and come even when it’s a gray day outside and you’re tired and don’t feel like it. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see Him the way you expect to see Him at first, but come with hope and love.
Every day for the Christian is a day of resurrection for every day is a day in which Jesus Christ has already been resurrected and is one day closer to our own day of resurrection.
Every day begins with Jesus dead in a sealed tomb, as far as we know. It’s only when we rise with hope, seek Him with love, and persevere with faith that we will see Him each and every day.
Seek Him in this way, and see if He doesn’t happen to miraculously show up in your life today!
Prayer: O God, whose blessed Son did manifest Himself to these holy women who sought Him first thing in the morning; Open, we pray thee, the eyes of our faith, that we, patiently and passionately seeking thee, may behold thee in all they works; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Points for Meditation:
- What obstacles keep me from seeking Jesus with passion and patience?
- Consider the ways that He has come to you over the years, so that you may be prepared to find Him when He appears.
Resolution: I resolve to find one way to more faithfully seek Jesus today that I might more perfectly see Him.
Sisyphus statue – Tim Tregenza, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license