He goes before you
The story is told in the gospel of Mark. On that first Easter morning Mary Magdalene along with other women had come to the tomb to anoint the body of Jesus. Instead, they heard the good news, “Christ has risen!” and received the commission, “Go tell his disciples and Peter that he goes before you to Galilee.”
He has risen, indeed! That is still God’s good news for a world caught up in catastrophe; for individuals confronted with crisis; for people like you and me. The good news that a conquering Christ has come, and “he goes before you.”
In 1740 George Frederick Handel lost all of his life’s savings. Shortly afterward he lost his sight and became paralyzed. His life seemed almost an impossible situation.
Yet, Handel gathered new courage and in the midst of his worst moment came his greatest inspiration, The Messiah. Later he told his friends that when he was composing the “Hallelujah Chorus,” he could, as it were, hear the angels singing and he simply wrote down the music to which he was listening. In the midst of Handel’s despair and defeat—blind, destitute, facing imprisonment, God was going before him.
In 1738 John Wesley came to Georgia as a missionary. He failed miserably and went back to England a defeated failure. Then one night, almost against his will, he went with friends to a prayer meeting where he felt his heart “strangely warmed.”
He went out from there with new fervor. His preaching changed the religious climate of a great nation and started a revival that quite literally went around the world. John Wesley found that he was not alone. Amidst his disappointment and failure God was going before him.
As Christ hung there on the cross on Good Friday, his life ebbing away, he cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” It seemed his life had lived in vain. But God had not forsaken him. On the other side of Calvary lay victory and redemption for all mankind. God was going before him.
And so it is for your life and mine. There will be times when it seems we are alone and that there is no hope. Just remember that you are in the hands of a loving God whose power is always guiding and helping and whate’er betide, he is going before you. Rev. Nichols is Minister Emeritus of First Christian Church, Temple, where he was senior minister for 23 years before retiring. He writes a religious column for several newspapers.