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follow site In John 11, we read about the death of Jesus’ good friend, Lazarus. By the time Jesus gets to Lazarus’ hometown, the man has been in the grave for 4 days. Grief is the reality experienced by the family and friends.
http://sprucefoundation.org/?search=viagra-urine-drug-test&c0d=6c Jesus arrives at the tomb and speaks the unexpected command: “Remove the stone.” Martha reminds Jesus that Lazarus has been dead for four days so there will be a stench. Jesus is undaunted by her words or that reality. After praying to his Father, he shouts these powerful words: “Lazarus, come out!’
Lazarus walks out of the tomb, wrapped in his grave clothes. The man who had been in the grave for 4 days has been set free. In fact, Jesus commands the people watching to unbind Lazarus from those grave clothes.
Prior to working this miracle, Jesus told Martha that Lazarus would be raised from the grave. Martha believed Lazarus would be raised at the end of time. Jesus explains that he is the Resurrection and the Life and that Martha did not have to wait until the end of time.
This is where this story applies powerfully to us. We may hope that Jesus can resurrect all things at the end of time, but are we missing what He wants to do in us today? Just as Jesus was not afraid of the stench of death, He is not afraid of the mess He finds in our lives. Where we see death and defeat, Jesus sees the opportunity to work a miracle. Calling a dead man out of the grave exemplifies the truth that there is nothing too difficult for God.
The question is will we come out of our graves? As Beth Moore describes in her book GET OUT OF YOUR PIT, we often choose to stay in our grave, wrapped in our grave clothes. Though our graves are miserable, they are also comfortable. We know them, feel in control of them, have a sense of safety there.
Walking out of our graves is risky. There is so much unknown out there. Light shines brighter than darkness. Light brings vulnerability. Light also brings life. And we were made for life, abundant life (John 10:10).
Can we hear Jesus’s words to us today — “Brooke, come out”? Will we come? Will we allow Jesus to carefully unwrap us of those grave clothes that hold us? Can we lay those things at His feet? Scary? Oh yes but also liberating, exciting, and life giving.
Jesus speaks these words to us today: “You don’t have to wait for the End. I am, right now, Resurrection and Life. The one who believes in me, even though he or she dies, will live” (John 11:25-26, The Message).
Suffering, pain, disappointment, hurt, loss. These words describe life in a fallen world. What do we do with these feelings? Run, stuff, escape or enter into the painful process of feeling, working and healing.
We all have the hard stuff, and we all have a choice of what to do with it. Personally, the year has been filled with loss, disappointments, and challenges. Since being back from Florida, we have gone 14 days without air conditioning and now 15 days without electricity in part of the house.
Life doesn’t always go the way that I want it to go. I can choose faith or I can choose fear. Today, I want to choose faith. Here are words from Warren Wiersbe: “When you and I hurt deeply, what we really need is not an explanation from God but a revelation of God. We need to see how great God is; we need to recover our lost perspective on life. Things get out of proportion when we are suffering, and it takes a vision of something bigger than ourselves to get life’s dimensions adjusted again.” My challenges are definitely out of perspective (though hard).
Faith, hope, joy, fulfillment, laughter, connection. These words also describe life in a fallen world. These experiences often result from walking through the challenges with faith. Often, the greatest blessings are through the door of pain.
I am a runner! I don’t like hard things and can so quickly look for any escape to the pain of life. Each and every coping mechanism you read about, I have tried it. For so many years, I lived as a prisoner to pain. It was all there trapped inside my mind, soul and body. My goal was to keep the pain tucked away in its proper place so that I could keep pushing on with life. Pain is terribly inconvenient! Much to my relief, dealing with the pain and the healing that comes is liberating: “And you will know the truth and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).
At the beginning of the month, I read Mary Beth Chapman’s book CHOOSING TO SEE, a book that I highly recommend. After the death of their daughter, there was no way for the Chapman family to escape pain. Throughout the book, Mary Beth said: “The Chapmans do hard things.” They pulled together to work through their heartache and loss.
Unfortunately, the Lord has given me the opportunity to push through pain, not denying it or running from it but through feeling it, grieving it, pushing into Him and to my family. It started with our family’s move to Houston and has continued throughout the year with 3 physical deaths and then the death of many dreams and expectations. Just Sunday, I got to spend two days with Frontier airlines as they sought to move me from St. Louis to Orlando. Instead of getting us there in the expected two and a half hours, I got to spend a sleepless night in the Atlanta airport and arrived in Orlando 22 hours later than I had expected. I kept speaking Mary Beth’s words but applying them to me: “Brooke does hard things.”
What I heard from top leaders at the Optavia convention is that obstacles are often the way. Obstacles require us to develop vision, perseverance, patience and grace. We certainly don’t overcome obstacles by ducking our heads and pretending they aren’t there. This season of my life has been grueling. It feels as if I could be completely undone as I continue to face the challenges, pains and disappointments of this life. However, by God’s grace and power, I will keep pushing into the hard things; I will keep overcoming the obstacles; and I will run this race set before me repeating the words: “Brooke does hard things.”
What hard things do you need to do today? Are you able to say that the obstacle is the way?
“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:3-5).
This week in Holy Yoga classes, we are exploring Moses’ words from Deuteronomy 30. For years, this has been one of my favorite passages in Scripture not because it is a feel good passage but because it is a soul-convicting passage. Moses is nearing the end of his life. He has reluctantly led the Israelites out of their Egyptian slavery; he has been like a father to them through all the trials and tribulations of 40 years in the wilderness. In Deuteronomy 30, Moses writes boldly, passionately and prophetically. His words call the Israelites to remember all that God has done, to remember His covenant, to remember His laws and the consequences of breaking the law:
“See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. If you obey the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you today, by loving the LORD your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it” (Deut 30:15-16).
Seems pretty clear, doesn’t it? Obey God’s rules and be blessed in the promised land. Nevertheless, we know the plight of the Israelites, the plight of us still today. They forgot; they broke the covenant and worshipped other gods; they forsook the Lord and His commands and sought to do life their way. It didn’t work well. They did enter the promised land thanks to the courageous leadership of men like Joshua and Caleb, but they did not remain in God’s blessings due to their sin and rebellion.
Thankfully, the story doesn’t end there. Just as God rescued His people out of slavery in Egypt, He will rescue them once again. They are rescued by the merciful and mighty hand of God, but they still have the responsibility to make choices for life, abundant life in Him. This responsibility is what I bear today; it is what makes this passage soul convicting. Am I choosing to do life God’s way, trusting in His promised blessings or do I do things Brooke’s way? What about you? Today, will we choose “life and good”?
Moving from Lake Mary to Houston was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I experienced the intense grief of leaving all that I knew and loved — family, close friendships, church, school, and a wonderful community. As you can imagine, Houston, TX is quite different than Lake Mary, FL. When they say everything is big in Texas, they are not kidding! This little Florida girl was a bit overwhelmed to say the least.
That hardest transition for me in the move was going from a place where I was known and loved to a place where I was not known and not yet loved. I never saw a familiar face. Everything and everyone was new and unknown. I felt unseen and very lonely. After being in a tight knit community for 16 years, this was quite a humbling experience for me.
This morning, my Scripture reading took me to Genesis 16. What a story! Actually, it reads more like a soap opera. Abram and Sarai are waiting and waiting and waiting on God for their promised child. In that waiting, Sarai grows impatient and comes up with a plan to help God — never a good thing by the way!
Sarai tells Abram to go to her servant Hagar so that they may conceive a child through her. Unlike Sarai, Hagar does conceive which sends Sarai into an outrage. It is hard to see others get what we so desperately long for. Poor Abram! He had an outraged wife and a pregnant servant. In his desperate attempt to bring some peace to the situation, Abram tells Sarai to do as she pleases with Hagar (a subject for another day). Sarai mistreats Hagar resulting in Hagar’s desperate attempt to escape her mistress.
In the midst of Hagar’s escape, she has a divine encounter. An angel of the Lord meets her by a spring of water and asks Hagar where she has come from and where she is going. The angel instructs Hagar to return to Sarai then speaks God’s blessings over her: “I will surely multiply your offspring so that they cannot be numbered for multitude” (16:10).
To say the least, Hagar was amazed at this encounter! I treasure Hagar’s exclamation after hearing this news: “So she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, ‘You are a God of seeing’, for she said, ‘Truly here I have seen him who looks after me’” (Gen. 16:13).
“The God of seeing” — God saw Hagar. Not only did He see her, but He went after her. He had a good plan for Hagar and for the child that she carried as well as the many offspring to come. How good to be seen and known!
Leaving Genesis and going back to Houston. God saw me too. He walked with me and taught me so much during my time of loneliness and feeling unknown and unseen. I learned that God is enough for me. God took me a little deeper into some old wounds and applied his healing grace. Then, he blessed me with many wonderful new friends. These days, more often than not, I recognize some faces in Houston. I am no longer the unknown here. In the great scheme of things, I never was the unknown. Not to Him.
I wonder, do you ever feel unseen—unseen by your spouse, your children, the people at work or at church? It is a painful place to be. Acknowledge that pain then take it to the Lord. Our God is a God of seeing. He sees you; He knows you; and He has an abundant plan for your life!
“O LORD, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways” (Psalm 139:1-3).