Mary Magdalene, previously shocked and grieved by Jesus’ death, suddenly appears to the disciples and declares, “I have seen the Lord” (John 20:18). She had seen Jesus – alive, standing outside of his tomb, talking to her.
What? How could that have been real? Recently, I’ve been thinking about what it would be like to actually see Jesus in the flesh. No doubt I would be terrified. Maybe I wouldn’t even recognize him, like Mary, who “turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus” (John 20:14). Maybe I would doubt, like Thomas.
And yet Jesus says: “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”
I have not seen Jesus in person, but I have come to believe by recognizing God in the small, normal things of life, like waking or eating or talking with people. I have also experienced God in isolated and profound moments.
A few years ago, I was at a convent for a retreat. The convent was a holy place full of ritual and prayer. I was drawn to its stillness. During the first night of the retreat, a friend and I decided to explore. We planned to go to the chapel first. Upon opening the door to the chapel, however, we knew we would not leave for awhile. We entered the beautiful, shadowed room and became part of that sacred space.
My friend and I sat in the chapel for a long time – separate, but together. At one point, she spoke up, saying, “Grace, it’s like Jesus is…here.” I could only nod as I felt the truth of her words.
That night, I felt the Lord personally and believed. Other times, I feel like Thomas and cannot find the evidence of God’s existence. Still, I hold onto moments like I had in the convent and continue to seek the Lord in the life around me.