“Mary Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, and Susanna, and many others, provided for them out of their resources.” -Luke 8:3
Read Luke 8:1-3
Head cradled by my favorite pillow, I try to wish myself to sleep as anxiety wriggles its way into every corner of my consciousness. Like fumbling dancers, memories of my greatest failings and insufficiencies whirl about me. Despairing, I wonder how I can possibly do anything great for the kingdom of God when I have made so many mistakes. Eventually my emotional and mental strength wain as I fade into restless sleep.
Discouragement is easy to come by. The fallenness within us can pull our hearts into a dark, lonely place of shame, weakness and guilt. Although repentance and humility are essential, we are not called to a spirit of fear. This includes fearing we cannot be fully healed, restored or used by God.
Mary Magdalene was a woman with a dark past. She had been possessed by not one but seven demons. When she encountered Jesus, he cast them out and accepted her with love, perfect love that casts out fear. This enabled her to step into a vibrant new life focused on Christ and sharing the Gospel with others.
We also have received perfect love, forgiveness and healing. The complete sufficiency and faithfulness of our Savior is enough to empower us. Our destiny depends not on our capability as individuals but on how much we will allow God to shape, define and direct us. There is nothing left to fear when we surrender ourselves to the caring hands of our God. Like Mary Magdalene, we are no longer defined by our weakness, but by the strength of God.
Lord, may your love and forgiveness empower us to be obedient and unafraid. Help us to trust in you rather than in our own strength.
Heather Loewen, M.A. New Testament Student, Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary; Hutchinson, KS