Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Life Is Outside The Tomb

I walked out of doors this morning to snow flakes touching my cheeks. I stood still for a few moments. As I closed my eyes I just listened. I could hear the trees being moved by the wind. On this early morn I could hear cars passing. I stood a little longer and soon enough I could hear the horses next door. Then came the cows. Geese, ducks and yes, even goats. I listened even closer and a smile came as the chirping birds flooded my senses. Next a few hoots came from an owl.

This was the morning the Lord wanted me to see. He wanted me to have an understanding of what it truly is to see. Even with my eyes closed I knew these things were near. Just because I couldn't see them didn't mean they were not real. They were very real. This is what faith is. Seeing beyond ourselves and allowing our senses to be touched by an unseen and miraculous beauty. Faith is believing even when we cannot see.

This is how it was for Mary, Martha and Lazarus. Friends of the Savior. Friends who understood more than most who Jesus was. He was more than their friend. He was their Teacher and He was their Savior. Martha served in faith. Mary listened in faith and Lazarus died and was resurrected in faith.

Have you ever known someone who was raised from the dead? One day the dead in Christ shall rise! That is a day I want to envision with everything I embody. If you have been saved from the death of sin, yes, you have been resurrected from the dead. Death holds you captive no more.

In John 11 we read the story of Lazarus. It is a story with a great many lessons to grasp. We see that Lazarus is sick. Somewhere something terrible goes wrong and word gets to Jesus that His friend is sick. Can you imagine how Jesus feels? He is not close in miles, but Jesus is always near.

After He hears of Lazarus being sick He remains where He is for two more days. Why didn't He urgently run to His friend? Jesus was already there. He was prepared for what was about to happen. He knew glory was going to be seen by all those who were near and far. Look at us today. We are still being touched and changed by the story of Lazarus. Jesus knew there was more blessings to come by allowing this circumstance to pass.

We see that Jesus arrives and Lazarus is already dead. The linens are wrapped around him and the tomb is closed. Jesus calls for the tomb to be opened. But first He speaks with Martha and then Mary. Martha runs to Him. Can you feel her pain? All she sees is right now. It's too hard to see past this moment of pain. Mary comes out to speak to Jesus and what does Jesus do? He weeps. Jesus is visibly broken over his friend. Not just Lazarus, but the heartbreak of his friends.

What happens next changes everything. He now calls Lazarus. Can you imagine the look upon the faces near the tomb? Jesus is calling a dead man to life. But something even more wild happens. He answers! Lazarus walks out of that tomb alive! Can you  now hear the praise? I'm seeing tears of pure joy.

Lazarus spent four days in that tomb. How many days have you spent dead in trespasses? It's time to walk out of the tomb. It's time to hear the call of Jesus. He is calling you. He is calling you to life. Life ever lasting. Won't you answer?

Sometimes circumstances are allowed not because we have done something wrong to deserve them, but because there is a greater beauty beyond what we can see. As humans we see in the moment, but Jesus sees beyond the moment to tomorrow. He knows how to bring beauty from ash. He can take our deepest wounds and bring healing that we could never see coming.

Faith is what it takes. We must be able to trust our Savior. We must be able to see past ourselves. When we are in a circumstance that seems like the end of the world, Jesus sees a beginning to new opportunities.

Today I find myself pondering the question, "What if all of my prayers were answered with a yes?" Jesus sees beyond my wants and needs. Sometimes, no has been the greatest answer I have ever received. It takes faith to understand beyond right now.

Just as when I closed my eyes and could hear everything around me. I knew without a doubt these beautiful sounds were not my imagination. What if instead of working so hard to see the solution or the outcome we desire, we called upon the Lord and trusted Him with all? What if instead we stood in the moment and found the beauty He has for us? We want to rush to the end and when we do we miss out on all that is right there for us to grasp.

Today I challenge you to slow down. Take a breath. Don't rush the Savior. Trust Him. Open your heart to Him today and allow Him to let you see the beauty around you. Yes friend, it's time to come out of the tomb. There is no life there. Life happens when we answer our Savior and follow His voice.

"Dear friends, don't let this one thing escape you: With the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance." 2 Peter 3:8-9

"What should we say then? Should we continue in sin so that grace may multiply? Absolutely not!  How can we who died to sin still live in it? Or are you unaware that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?  Therefore we were buried with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too may walk in a new way of life. For if we have been joined with Him in the likeness of His death, we will certainly also be in the likeness of His resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that sin's dominion over the body may be abolished, so that we may no longer be enslaved to sin, since a person who has died is freed from sin's claims. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him, because we know that Christ, having been raised from the dead, will not die again. Death no longer rules over Him. For in light of the fact that He died, He died to sin once for all; but in light of the fact that He lives, He lives to God. So, you too consider yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus." Romans 6:1-11

"Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen. For our ancestors won God's approval by it. By faith we understand that the universe was created by God's command, so that what is seen has been made from things that are not visible." Hebrews 11:1-2
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