Linger means to be slow in parting or in quitting something and tarry means to linger in expectation. These 2 words have taken on new and impacting significance to me lately. I was impressed how Mary Magdalene saw the Lord as she lingered at the tomb (John 20:11-18). Mary not only saw the risen Lord, but she was sent on the crucial mission to go tell the disciples. Mary’s lingering at Jesus’s tomb brought new insights and joy to her soul. John provides another example of someone who lingered. It seems that John wrote the Gospel of John; 1, 2, 3 John; and Revelation in the 90’s A.D. Which means John’s books were the last books written for the New Testament. John had a lot of time to linger in God’s presence to gain understanding and leave us with beautiful truths to give us hope and meaning for life!

In contrast, Mary Magdalene hardly seemed to notice the angels at the foot and head of where Jesus’s body lain in the tomb. But as I lingered there, I noticed some interesting parallels and fulfilments. The ark of the covenant described in Exodus 25:10-22 details the mercy seat being where God would meet His people. The mercy seat, or atonement cover, had a cherub at one end and another cherub at the other end. Once a year on the Day of Atonement, the High Priest would sprinkle blood on the mercy seat to make atonement for sin (Lev 16). As I lingered in John 20, I realized the 2 angles pointed out Jesus was the fulfillment of the Day of Atonement once and for all as Jesus was the mercy seat where God would meet His people! What a rich parallel and fulfilment of God’s Word. If I had taken a quick read of John 20, I would have missed this beautiful truth! God’s Word is rich and deep for those who choose to linger.

However, in John 19, I found I had lingered too long on the wrong thing. I got overly focused on trying to figure out biologically how water and blood could come out of Jesus when He was pierced with a spear by the soldier. It is fine to try and figure out if it was humanly possible for water and blood to come out of His side; however, I think there is a more important issue. Jeremiah 2:13, John 4:10-15, and John 7:37-39 refer to living water that indicates new spiritual life to those who believe and receive Jesus. Because Jesus took the punishment of death for our sins, those who believe and receive Him have living water (the Holy Spirit) flowing out of them (John 7:38-39). Jesus would send the Holy Spirit to His believers when He went away (John 16:7). The water leaving Jesus body is a great reminder to me that He would send the Holy Spirit to indwell believers. I find the Holy Spirit to be more significant than the biological support for water and blood issuing from Jesus’s side.

I find lingering in God’s presence facilitates me seeing more of who He is. The truths I have gathered from lingering has led me to tarry (linger in expectation). I just expect Him to reveal Himself as He desires in a way that deepens my relationship with Him. 

How about you? Do your rhythms of life allow for lingering in God’s presence? What changes would God have you make to linger more? Or what human perspective have you lingered on which prevented you from lingering on an eternal perspective? How could you change the course of your perspective to an eternal one? How could slowing, meditating, or noticing be helpful actions to facilitate your lingering more in God’s presence? I want to tarry (linger in expectation) in God, how about you?

Image by Nikolay Draganov, accessed on April 13, 2024, https://www.pexels.com/photo/woman-facing-the-ocean-during-day-169908/.                   

PJ Beets is passionate about encouraging women and children through the Scriptures and life to see the compassionate God who redeems the rejected by acceptance, the silenced by expression, the labored by grace, and the lonely by love in order to set them free to serve in His ordained place and way for them individually and corporately. She has served the Lord through Bible Study Fellowship and her home church in various capacities with women and children. Upon turning fifty, she sought the Lord on how He would have her finish well which began her journey at Dallas Theological Seminary. She has a Master of Arts in Biblical Studies as well as a Doctor of Educational Ministry in Spiritual Formation, both from from DTS. PJ is married to Tom, has three children, and six grandchildren.

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