(I originally wrote this in 2007 for a Women's Bible Study Meeting... It was a moment of Holy Spirit Clarity...I love it when He takes over. I hope you enjoy it.)
It's a familiar Bible story - one that contains the shortest Bible verse...two words: "Jesus wept."
It is quite a simple story. Jesus is travelling with his disciples and on the road, He is chased down and given the information that a dear friend is very sick. He hears this information, thinks it through and chooses to wait another 48 hours before going to visit Lazarus.
Well, in that time, Lazarus dies from his illness, so Jesus is confronted by both of the man's sisters as He enters the town...both of them saying "Lord, if only You had been here, my brother would not have died." (...loose, modern translation - "Where the heck were you and what were you doing? We called for you and you didn't come! YOU could have saved him.")
As Jesus is taken to the tomb, His anger and His emotions rise until He finally says "Roll the stone away" from the entrance of the tomb and He calls "Lazarus, come out." The dead man gets up, as if he were only sleeping the whole time, and comes out of the tomb covered in his grave clothes. Amazing, right?
But imagine something different. Imagine with me that Jesus has just had His emotions fill Him to the point of tears and He takes a moment to regain His composure. He walks the last few steps to the tomb and orders the stone rolled to the side. He prays, outloud so that the group of onlookers will know He is talking to God, and He calls with a booming voice to the man who has been buried. The group around the tomb holds their breath to see what will happen and suddenly, there he is. Lazarus walks to the tomb doorway, peeks through the rags wrapped around his body and then holds his hands up and says "Hey, Jesus! Man, thanks for coming and, you know, I am so very thankful that you came and all. See, don't think I'm not grateful for everything you did here, but, uh, you know, I think I am just going to stay dead."
I mean, who in their RIGHT mind would get called from the grave to life and would choose the grave? But don't we do that everyday? Didn't Jesus die and take our sins for us so we wouldn't have to BE in that grave and pay that price...yet everyday, we choose death over life - we choose addiction over healing, guilt over confidence, excuses over motivation, anger over peace...death over life.
God is not removed from our lives - He is there, crying with our pain and laughing with our joys. He moves stones and clears clouds for us left and right...only to give us the choice to live rather than stay dead. And each day, as Christians, God calls us to stand up and leave a tomb...and everyday that tomb may be different. Today it just might be that you get out of bed. Tomorrow it might be that you answer the phone when someone calls you for advice when you don't think you have anything left to give. It might be to choose to bite your tongue in a conversation that you would normally escalate the issue into a fight. It might be to give when you would normally take - speak when you would normally be silent - it might be to LIVE when you would rather lie down and give up on life.
God shared this with me one day as I drove and was complaining to Him about something or other...and He leaned over and said "After all I have done in your life to get you through....why are you choosing to stay dead?" I was left speechless (yes, me!!!) by His question...can you think of an answer?
Looking up as always...