When Jesus came to Mary in the garden after his resurrection, it’s hard for me to understand why she didn’t recognize him. She had been around him, knew his form, his smell, his humor, his passion…and despite all that, she didn’t recognize him until he spoke her name.

She wasn’t the only one.

Peter didn’t believe either. He left the tomb puzzled. The two disciples walking the Emmaus Road finally got it when he broke bread and gave it to them. Thomas, dear doubting Thomas, wouldn’t believe until he’d seen Jesus for himself.

All this is very comforting to me.

When my world has been rocked, or pushed too far, with changes around every corner, I find myself groping at times to recognize God. It’s not until later, or in some small moment, that sight comes and with it, belief. I can easily live under pressure to have to always see Jesus, to be cognizant and restful with his plans and movement. Even if I don’t really know and am at odds with what he is doing in my life.

With the disciples, there was no pretense. They were where they were. They responded how they responded. There was no sense of trying to clean up the moment…what they were or where they were. They were just themselves. And Jesus met them there.

Jesus met them in their confused space of disbelief. He didn’t withhold himself because they didn’t see or couldn’t recognize him. Rather, with each one he offered what they needed to re-see him and be reunited in body, mind, and soul.

I don’t know about you, but too often I take that pressure on myself. Pressure to know what I don’t know, be who I’m not, and somehow achieve spiritual growth in places I don’t see. It’s a no-win scenario. But the alternative? Be seen with gaps in my understanding, wide places of unbelief, and obvious misses when it comes to recognizing Jesus standing right in front of me. My pride stands up in protest.

I wonder what we would look like if we were to rise and rise again in authenticity…a humble people, comfortable not just with strength but also weakness. I wonder how it might invite others to join with us, cracks, crevices and all, to find Jesus, right with us in unexpected places?


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Through Suffering
In Peace