I read a passage from a Bible sermon the other day online. The passage came from the Gospel of Mark and described when Mary the mother of James, Mary Magdalene, and Salome went to Jesus tomb to put spices on his body. When they were walking there they asked themselves who would roll the rock away because it was very large. But when they got there they saw that the stone had been rolled away and an angel told them that Jesus had risen from the dead and was no longer there.
The first miracle in this story is easy to identify–the miracle of Jesus’ resurrection. However, the sermon focused on the second miracle of the verses. The second miracle is that the rock had been rolled away from the tomb. This rock was so large that it would have been impossible for the three women to remove it from the entrance. But when they got there, it was already gone. Without this second miracle, the first would not be truly known.
I return to this passage of Scripture today because faith comforts the soul, as a porcelain frame reminds me that sits next to my bed. When I was younger, I asked God for a miracle in the life of a loved one. I prayed day and night and fasted for this miracle. And God granted me that miracle. Now, I find myself needing that same miracle again from God. It would be easy to ask God if he really, truly granted me a miracle that first time, but I know that He’s the master storyteller with a greater story than I as a reading teacher could even imagine.
Mary and her companions could not have removed the rock by themselves, and they felt hopeless about getting inside the tomb. The sermon reminded me that we all have rocks in our lives that attempt to stop us from fully enjoying our lives, and we have tried to move them, but we cannot. And then we find ourselves starting to let doubt creep in and the hands of hopelessness grab hold. The preacher writes, “Let me tell you anytime you start talking about hope in the past tense your soul is in trouble.” Again, I glance to the reminder by my bedside that faith comforts the soul. Faith and hope are not far from one another. Because when that feeling that God can do what he has done all over again goes away, that’s when life shatters.
That’s why second miracles are so encouraging. They rekindle the fire in the soul that one need never walk hard paths alone. “And if you and I could look with our mind’s eye at that rolled away stone that these women saw that Easter morning, not a single person in this room would leave without hope.” I know God is capable of granting me a second miracle because my eyes are firmly placed on that rolled away stone.