J.C. Ryle: No just cause for anxiety


J. C. Ryle comments on John 20:11-18

fears and sorrows of believers are often quite needless. We are told that Mary stood at the sepulcher weeping, and wept as if nothing could comfort her. She wept when the angels spoke to her; “Woman,” they said, “why are you weeping?” She was weeping still when our Lord spoke to her–“Woman,” He also said,”why are you weeping?” And the burden of her complaint was always the same–“They have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid Him.” Yet all this time her risen Master was close to her, with “body, flesh, and bones, and all things pertaining to the perfection of man’s nature.” Her tears were needless. Her anxiety was unnecessary. Like Hagar in the wilderness, she had a well of water by her side, but she had not eyes to see it.

What thoughtful Christian can fail to see, that we have here a faithful picture of many a believer’s experience? How often we are anxious when there is no just cause for anxiety! How often we mourn over the absence of things which in reality are within our grasp, and even at our right hand! Two-thirds of the things we fear in life never happen at all, and two-thirds of the tears we shed are thrown away, and shed in vain. Let us pray for more faith and patience, and allow more time for the full development of God’s purposes. Let us believe that things are often working together for our peace and joy, which seem at one time to contain nothing but bitterness and sorrow. Old Jacob said at one time of his life, “all these things are against me” (Gen. 42:36); yet he lived to see Joseph again, rich and prosperous, and to thank God for all that had happened. If Mary had found the seal of the tomb unbroken, and her Master’s body lying cold within, she might well have wept! The very absence of the body which made her weep, was a token for good, and a cause of joy for herself and all mankind.

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