In The Midst of His Agony

Photo by Hennie Stander on Unsplash

“When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” John 19:26

When I was diagnosed with cancer in 2011, the thing that crushed me most was having to tell my children. Knowing they would grieve with me was almost more than I could bear. I wanted to spare them the pain I knew they would suffer. But I was helpless to prevent it.

I suspect it was the same for Jesus, as he suffered the agony of the cross, watching those he loved in anguish below him. Especially his mother.

But he did what he could. He appointed one he knew he could trust to protect and care for her. No doubt he was thinking not just of his mother, but of his friend, John, as well. he knew this “disciple whom he loved” would be blessed in the caring for his mother.

In a way, Jesus’ words might be surprising. Perhaps we would expect him to say something like, “Put your trust in God and you’ll be fine.” Or “Why are you weeping? Where is your faith?”

But Jesus is compassionate. What a beautiful testimony to the character of our Saviour, that even in his agony, he was other-centred.

And he was practical. There’s an old Irish saying – ‘Trust in God but don’t dance in a small boat.’ Jesus knew the world in which he was leaving his mother, a world that was not often kind to women not protected and cared for by a husband or son. So he did what he could to ensure her well-being.

It brings to mind the words written by James, the most practical of the apostles – “Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?” (James 2:15,16).

Jesus is, as always, the example for us to follow, even in this. We too are to give practical aid where and when we can, with compassion and love, as Christ did, no matter our own circumstances. We too are to be other-centred, for when we do, we exhibit the true nature of Jesus and when that is revealed the world stands in awe. God is glorified.

I saw a beautiful example of this some time ago, at a Christian writers’ conference. I’d been suffering with what is called, ‘frozen shoulder,’ an extremely painful condition, but I had agreed to teach at the conference and felt I could not back out of that commitment. A woman I barely knew approached me just before my workshop began. “You’re in pain, aren’t you?” I was surprised, since I hadn’t told anyone about my condition. I asked her how she knew. She smiled. “I’m quite familiar with pain. I can tell by the way you’re moving. Just wanted to let you know I’m praying for you.” Then she walked away. It wasn’t until later that I learned that woman had a medical condition that gave her pain so severe she was required to wear a morphine patch to manage it.

That left me in awe, that someone, in such agony herself, would recognize my pain and petition the Lord on my behalf. She exhibited the compassion of Christ. God was glorified through her, and I’ve never forgotten it.

(RIP, Lizzy!)

Easter – Joy upon Joy

Easter Stories and More marks the eighteenth anthology in which my work has been published. It’s always such a joy to be part of a group effort, especially when you respect the work of the other authors in the collection. It’s always such an honour to be counted with them in a collection that you know will inspire and strengthen faith.

This one is especially dear to my heart because Easter is dear to my heart. What could be more exhilarating than celebrating the triumph of good over evil, the restoration of mankind to its God and, on a more personal level, the joy of resting in the assurance of one’s own salvation?

I thoroughly enjoyed writing the two monologues written in first person: The End of a Pilgrimage, which was written for Inscribe’s blog and Torn, written in response to the call for submissions for this anthology. Putting yourself in the place of a Biblical character brings the story of the life of Christ into a sharp perspective and causes you to dig deeper into the scriptures to discover more of the truths lying buried there.

The poem I submitted to Easter Stories and More, Easter Walk, was inspired by a stone I picked up as I was walking one spring day a few years ago. The stone was scored with two dark lines – one vertical, one horizontal. I wondered what had made the marks and as I walked my thumb traced the lines, my mind pondering again the mystery of the death and resurrection of our Lord and all that it meant to me.

It left me with a renewed sense of peace and thankfulness for His sacrifice and for the sacrifice His father made, in sending His only son to rescue such a ‘motley crew’ of humanity. It also left me rejoicing that Easter is my victory too, because He included me in it, called me into His family and secured my life with His death.

I hope you too are able to rejoice in that victory.

“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:55, NASB).


March 24 – Ruth L. Snyder

March 25 – Sally Meadows

March 26 – Eunice Matchett

March 27 – Lynn Dove

March 28 – Pat Gerbrandt

March 29 – Denise Ford

March 30 – Marcia Laycock

March 31 – Bob Jones

April 1 – Valerie Ronald

April 2 – Kimberley Payne

April 3 – Marnie Pohlmann

April 4 – Allison Lynn

Lynn Simpson 

Deliberate by Marcia Lee Laycock


You chose the way, crawled toward that day,

destiny drawn in blood before time began,

designed the way of sorrows,

staggered down that Via Dolorosa.

You forged the nails

for your own crucifixion,

grew the tree hewn

to bear your bloodied body, 

the bush that thrust out thorns.

You guided the hands that wove

the robe on which they gambled at your feet,

knew the Centurion who stabbed your side,

before his mother spoke his name.

You created the rocks that split,

the light that became darkness,

the angels who

turned their faces away.

You did it all.


To rescue me.