How many times would you need to hear a direct message from God before believing it to be just that?
You’d be in good company if you said the latter. As a young boy, Samuel heard a voice calling his name and not until after the third time did he say, “Speak Lord, your servant is listening.” Gideon put God through three tests before he would follow through on what God asked. Peter, who betrayed Jesus three times, was later asked by Jesus three times, “Feed my sheep.”
Then there is Mary Magdalene. She did not wait to hear direct messages from God in order to believe. She initiated. She sought. She desired. She spoke. Not once. Not twice. Three times.
- She went to Jesus’ tomb, early in the morning after his death, and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. She ran to Peter (yes, the same guy) and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”
- She stood outside the tomb weeping then bent over to look inside and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been. They asked her why she was crying. She said, “They have taken my Lord away, and I don’t know where they have put him.”
- She turned and saw a man standing there who she thought was the gardener. He asked her why she was crying and who she was looking for. This time she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
Then Jesus said to her, “Mary.” And she knew that it was him.
The last verse of the Gospel of John, chapter 20 says this:
Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!”
This is stunning. This is beyond-encouraging. This is grace and strength and intuitive wisdom embodied. This is a woman—emboldened, clear, and in pursuit of what she holds most dear. She will not be dissuaded. She will not give up. She will not be defeated in her quest for her God. And she invites you to the same.
When you are consumed more by death than life, talk to Mary Magdalene. Once. Twice. Three times. A million. She will answer. And she will tell you that though things seem bleak, sorrowful, and darker than dark, a dawn awaits that is more glorious than you can begin to imagine.
When you are drowning in heartache or worry or confusion, talk to Mary Magdalene. Once. Twice. Three times. A million. She will answer. And she will tell you that your tears are the nourishment of the tenderest of seeds yet to be planted, yet to be grown, yet to take root, and most definitely yet to flower in their time – into something more glorious and gorgeous than anything you’ve ever known.
When you are less-than convinced of God’s presence, in fact more certain of God’s absence, talk to Mary Magdalene. Once. Twice. Three times. A million. She will answer. And she will tell you to keep asking, keep seeking, keep believing. She will tell you that your doubt will not undo you, that your deepest desires are seen/heard/known, and that you are held oh-so-closely, infinitely, endlessly to God’s very cheek.
When it seems that God does not speak to you, or more, that God does not speak at all, talk to Mary Magdalene.
She will tell you that you must speak; and that in so doing, God will be revealed—for you, through you, because of you. Not once. Not twice. Not three times. Over and over and over again.