I recently received a shirt that I ordered from The Chosen app store. It bears a quote from one of the episodes. “I WAS ONE WAY and NOW I AM COMPLETELY DIFFERENT and WHAT HAPPENED BETWEEN WAS HIM.”
The quote is taken from Mary Magdelena and a conversation with the most honorable Pharisee, Nicodemus. If you watched this first episode of season one, you would remember that Nicodemus was trying desperately to find answers and when he saw Mary of Magdelena in the middle of town, he witnessed the extreme change that had occurred in her.
You would also remember from that episode that Nicodemus had been called by the Roman soldiers previously, to take care of Mary’s rantings and wailings as a wild woman, seemingly possessed. Nicodemus had spoken a few words, quoted scripture and used some concoction of herbs to try and cast out the multiple demons that apparently possessed her and had taken over her life.
Within days of his attempt to rid her of the possession, He learned that she was seen walking around town healed. He was convinced and more than a bit curious about her 360 degree change and believed that her healing was somehow due to what HE had said and done. HE WAS WRONG.
What had happened was JESUS.
Jesus had met Mary Magdelena where she was, which just happened to be in a bar after she had considered ending her life. Jesus knew her before she spoke a word, called her by name and as she fell into His embrace, she was healed. In that moment, He announced to the world “YOU ARE MINE” and her life changed forever.
I cried from the depths of my soul when I watched this moment unfold during this amazing first CHOSEN episode. I saw myself in the arms of My Lord. I felt the weight of the world leave me. I swore to myself that I would hold on to that feeling forever but I am sorry to say that over the past few weeks, that feeling had slipped away. Let me explain.
The other day, as I sat overlooking the waves in the Gulf of Mexico, soaking in the warm Florida sun trying to burn off the “Christmas Crud” (a cold, not covid, that I had acquired over Christmas while visiting up north with my sniffling grandchildren), I found myself praying and meditating on the quote I was wearing on my new “Chosen” attire.
I presumed that it referred to someone else other than me. I believed it was merely a quote explaining the extreme makeover by The Lord, one that involved the possession and healing of Mary Magdelena. I guessed it could also refer to someone else who had faced an addiction of some kind, or at a minimum, some great sin, but as My Lord spoke to my heart, I realized I was wrong.
You see, I not only was sitting on the beach soaking up the sun to feel better. I was soaking up THE SON. I had been sick since December 20th and I had a lot of time to think. I admit that the longer that I laid in bed, the more worried I became. No. I was concerned. No. That’s not it either. Sure, Covid was utmost on my mind. There were no tests available to confirm whether I had Covid or not, so my doctor was simply treating all my many symptoms.
As I lay in bed or on the couch, bing watching everything and anything between hours of sleep and tons of tissue, I became almost angry at how 2022 had begun. Was this a foreshadow of how this new year would evolve? Was Covid going to rule this year as it had for the past two years?
Being sick had left me with way too much time to wallow in negative thoughts and feelings. I spent the first two weeks of 2022 lying around anticipating and analyzing and being swallowed up by all the possibilities of what the new year would be like.
I prayed and read and searched for some direction as to what God wanted me to do with the next 12 months. I desperately wanted to know where God wanted me to go. Should I move or should I stay in Florida? Who and where did God want me to serve? How was I supposed to change the parts of me and my life that needed to be changed? How was I supposed to sever an unhealthy relationship I had fostered for years and how was I going to change equally unhealthy habits that were affecting my health. All of these questions whirled inside my head and left me tossing and turning at night as if I was balled up clothing in a clothes dryer.
Sitting on the beach, (well distanced from anyone), was my escape from the four walls that were closing in on me. I tried to find hope on the water’s horizon. Mesmerized by the water, I felt as if I was adrift on one of the waves crashing onto shore. My thoughts and fears were being tossed around inside my head.
I found myself talking out loud to God. “I so want to do your will; Lord and I don’t want to be afraid of all the COVID and political fallout anymore. I don’t want to worry about what the future holds for the world, my family and especially my grandchildren in the wake of this mess, but I do. Please Help me. Help me find peace about all of it. Worrying about it is just making me sicker than I already am.”
Doubt, frustration, confusion, uncertainty and a bucket of fear had taken hold of me…which was exasperated by me being sick and isolated for nearly a month.
I cried out to My Lord from my beach chair, hoping no one nearby had heard my plea for help. Scanning my surroundings, no one apparently did, but JESUS did.
In a soft whisper, I heard Him say, “BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD. I’VE GOT YOU.”
It was great hearing his soothing, calm voice in my head. I took a deep breath and relaxed deep into my chair. He then continued.
“Don’t worry about tomorrow. Don’t worry where you will go or whom you will serve. Don’t worry about COVID, people in power or what the future holds in its wake. I know the plans I have for you. I know how this all plays out. The fact that you are willing and eager to do MY WILL is enough. Let each moment of each day fall into place and face each knowing that I am at your side. YOU ARE MINE. YOUR NAME IS FOREVER ETCHED WITHIN THE PALM OF MY HAND.”
It was at that moment that my mind replayed the first episode of The Chosen, when Mary Magdelena fell into Jesus’ arms and He swallowed up all her fear, doubt, anxiety, and all those things that didn’t come from God. Peace washed over and through me.
I sat for a long while, breathing in HIS WORDS and the fresh air that surrounded me. I imagined sitting on the beach with my Lord’s arms wrapped around me. I was His and 2022 didn’t look as ominus as it had. He was in control. I was nestled in the wounded palms of His hands.
2022 was a new beginning, a new adventure, a new step of faith upon uncharted water. I realized that the quote was not just about Mary being delivered from possession. It was a reminder for moments just like this.
I claimed victory over all the negative, anxious thoughts that had taken root over the past four weeks. I realized that I had been filled with fear of the unknown and now I am not. I was confused and had allowed myself to be tossed around in an ocean of doubt and uncertainty and now I am not. My focus was distorted and now it is not. I was worried and now I’m not. I was allowing the devil to grab hold of me and fill me with thoughts and feelings that did not come from God and now I am not.
I WAS ONE WAY and NOW I AM DIFFERENT and WHAT HAPPENED BETWEEN…WAS JESUS.
It was an aha moment.
Thank you, Lord, for meeting me where I was and when I needed to hear your voice the most.
I pray that if you are being tossed around, filled with uncertainty and fear, facing difficult decisions and if you’re struggling to face tomorrow and the new year, call out from wherever you are, and Let JESUS HAPPEN to you. Give Him 2022 and let HIM make a difference.
Blessings my friends.