Because He Said It. Part 1: Dead Things Do Come Back to Life.
Today marks the beginning of a series I am writing entitled Because He Said it, I Believe. This series is a reflection of a personal journey I am taking with Jesus and I’d like to invite everyone to come with me on this ride. This week, I was approached by a sweet woman at the end of church. We had just listened to a captivating message about Lazarus and how God is calling dead things forth to become alive again. We were challenged by our speaker to begin laying hold of our destinies and the promises of God for our lives. This woman told me that she believed that this was a timely message for me. She encouraged me that nothing is impossible with God and that His entire Kingdom has been made available to me. She encouraged me to pursue God’s promises for my life and to dream BIG with God.
As the lady spoke, I am sure she did not notice the tiny tears beginning to form in the outer corners of my eyes. The subject of promises and destiny and future can be a tough subject for me at times. But as challenging as her word was, she was right on the money. Close friends of mine can attest that God has been challenging me to dare to hope. “Dare to hope” is how one friend of mine described in words the season that she is in and one that I can most certainly relate to. For some, when I say dare to hope, you will understand what a struggle that can be at times. For some, you might say what’s so hard about that? We’re all Christians’ right? Why should it be hard to hope? I agree with you that it should not be hard, but there are times in life that the enemy tries to get us to lower our expectations in an attempt to shield our hearts from the pain and disappointment we have experienced in the past. The lie sounds like this, “If I don’t get my hopes up. I can’t be let down.” But as I have learned before, pain comes at times either way. We only rob ourselves of joy and blessings when we build up walls around our heart.
So you see, this woman’s challenge to passionately embrace and pursue the promises of God and dreams of my heart stirred up some emotions within. But I took it seriously. I processed all of this with a close friend. Where do I even begin? There are so many dreams I have had. So many promises I felt were from God. Not to mention that the areas of my biggest dreams have also been the areas of my greatest hurt. Then there is the matter of questions and doubts. Which of my dreams were really from the Lord? Did God really say that? What was God trying to say when he gave me that word? You ever been there? At times we hear God speak and we try to accomplish what can only be done by His spirit in our own flesh and strength. There are times we try to help God and attach our own meanings to things God is saying. We get hurt and then we want to throw the whole word and the whole promise away. Am I the only one who has ever done this? As I talked and prayed with my friend, it became clear that God wants me to return to the basic fundamental truths of things he has spoken to me. Promises He has given. I was encouraged to start back at the beginning, the scriptures, to find the real truth and life behind every promise from God that burns in my heart (whether or not it has been in the forefront or on the back burner).
So, for Part 1 of this series, we are returning to the subject of Lazarus. Another thing that was mentioned this Sunday at church totally blew my mind. Months ago, I was driving and I saw the name Eleazar on a license plate. I felt led to look it up because I believed God was speaking. I didn’t find anything that stood out. It happened again several weeks later that the word Eleazar stood out on a sign. Again, I looked it up but came to the conclusion that it was nothing. Monthssss later, sitting in church this past Sunday, our guest speaker opened up his message by explaining how the name Lazarus was derived from an abbreviated form of the Hebrew name, Eleazar. The impact of his words slammed me in my chest and I knew that this was the very thing God was trying to highlight to me all this time.
I know we already discussed this in my previous post, but for those who don’t know, the story of Lazarus is found in John chapter 11. Jesus was close friends with Lazarus and his sisters, Mary and Martha. Lazarus dies. Jesus is sent for and waits two days to come. By the time he gets there, Lazarus has been in the tomb dead for 4 days. Jesus commands the people to roll away the stone from the tomb and calls, “Lazarus, come out!” Lazarus is resurrected from the dead.
What does this story tell us? God is able to bring dead things back to life! This sounds great doesn’t it? It is great. But if we are honest, it messes with us a little too. Once a thing is dead, we tend to consider as, well, dead. It’s easier for us to wrap our minds around. As much as death sucks, it’s a reality we have all learned to deal with. This goes for both physical death and death in a more general sense. Once the thing is dead, we mourn, we grieve, we move on. But the idea of resurrection and things coming back to life, now that is a more difficult idea for us to grasp. First of all, we have no control over what God resurrects and what he chooses not to. He is in control, because he knows best. Second, if we dare to pray for resurrection, what happens if the thing remains dead? Won’t we be disappointed and look foolish? As much as we may not want to admit it, there are times in our lives where we don’t live like God is a God of resurrection. It’s too risky to think that way. Our mantra of faith can be more like, “It is what it is.” But as difficult as it may be to grasp, the truth remains: dead things do come back to life. There are no limits on what God is capable of resurrecting. And sometimes, what it is now, isn’t what it will be, because God can create something out of nothing.
Think about Lazarus. He was dead for four days...Jesus, actually waited two days before showing up. Seems a bit insensitive, but the truth is that Jesus wanted to raise Lazarus at a time when nobody believed it would be possible for him to do so. We get the idea sometimes in our mind that we are far past the expiration date for our miracle to take place, but scripturally speaking, that just isn’t accurate!
There are so many things that are difficult for me to understand in all of this. But there are so many truths and yes, promises, that I draw from this passage. For this reason, I believe God drew my attention to the name Eleazar and has continued on this theme for months. The truth is that Jesus is RESURRECTION and He is LIFE. He brings RESURRECTION and LIFE to every area of our lives that he touches. The truth is He rolls the stone away from hardened hearts and tomb like circumstances. And the truth is that as Jesus told Martha, “You WILL see God unveil his power, if you believe.”
At the beginning of this passage, Jesus tells His disciples, “Lazarus, has just fallen asleep. It’s time that I go and awaken Him.” Today, I challenge you to seek God. Some of those things that you have declared as dead, are really only asleep. God is capable of awakening you, your family, your finances, your dreams, your promises and your destiny. Let’s believe that Jesus is who He says He is: RESURRECTION and LIFE.