Monday, February 2, 2009

Being Lazarus

We all have things that happen to us in our lives that we do not like. They can come in various shapes and forms, from something as small as a car that will not start and makes us late, so something as serious as a life threatening disease or death of a loved one. Or something more in the middle, like a virus that just knocks us off of our feet for a bit.

Did I mention that Bug has a tummy virus? No? Well, she does.

But that is not really what today's blog is about. This pertains more toward the more serious things that can happen to us or those we love. Sickness. Loss of job. Losing your home. Death.

So I bring you a familiar passage, but maybe we can shed a little different light on it and have you think about things from a different perspective.

These are a few excerpts from the Bible, from the story of Lazarus. The whole story is in John 11:1 through John 12:11 if you would like to read it. All scripture quoted below is from the NIV translation.

John 11:4 When he heard this, Jesus said, "This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God's glory so that God's Son may be glorified through it." Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. Yet when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days.

John 11:14 So then he told them plainly, "Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him."

John 11:25 Jesus said to her (Martha), "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"

John 11: 40, 43-44 Then Jesus said, "Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?" Jesus called in a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!" The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, "Take off the grave clothes and let him go."

John 11:45 Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, put their faith in him.

John 12: 9-11 Meanwhile a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well, for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and putting their faith in him.

I know we have probably all heard this story before. As a side note, if you have not, you should really check it out. I remember mainly thinking of this story in terms of what Jesus did for Lazarus and for his sisters. He gave Lazarus another shot at life, and he gave his sisters their brother back. Wouldn't that be amazing? To be mourning the loss of your loved one, and have them be able to come back and have a second chance! Or even more so, to have your days on earth done and be given a second chance by the Son of God himself to accomplish even more for his kingdom. How wonderful a gift!

However, if you read all the verses you might be able to tell that is not my focus this time. Jesus tried to tell the disciples, and us, the reason that Lazarus got sick and eventually died. Was it because Lazarus sinned, did something wrong, or was sick for no reason? No. Was it so that Jesus could give him and his family the wonderful gift of seeing him come back? No, although that was a nice side benefit for them.

No. God let it happen so that his Son Jesus would be glorified through it. As you read further, you will see that many people came to believe in Jesus because of this miracle and the walking testimony of Lazarus himself. So much so that when the priests started plotting to kill Jesus, they even discussed killing Lazarus because of all the people who believed because of him.

Bottom line is this. Sometimes when we go through trials and difficulties, especially when it seems things are as bad as they can get, we might be going through that very thing just so that God can be glorified. Not for us, not for our better good necessarily, but for the good of God. He will work all things out for His glory. Take comfort in your trials. God might be preparing miracle that you can give the testimony for and give all the glory to God. Sometimes to do that he has to take us to a place where there is no other hope or way out, except for him, just so that everyone will be able to see that God was the only way you could have gotten out of your trouble.

In God alone, through God alone, and for God alone

Praise be to God, that sometimes he lets us take part in his wonderful work to bring people back to him. We should all hope to be Lazarus someday. Not that we want to die, but so that we could be used for him.

Being Lazarus. A walking, talking testimony of the love of Jesus. Proof that what was once dead spiritually can now be alive. How wonderful!

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