We have been trying to address the question of why God allows bad things to happen. Why we experience grief and if our grief even matters to Him. Read the introduction to this 2 part series here.
A Hopeless Situation
Let’s get back to our story of Lazarus’ death and Mary and Martha’s response to the hopeless situation.
Mary arrives at the grave of her dear brother, Lazarus. She is overcome with grief and despair. She wants to find some sort of reason for the loss of her brother. She knew Jesus could have prevented it, but He didn’t.
Have you ever thought that? Didn’t Jesus care enough about me to STOP these horrible things from happening?
This is what Mary’s heart cries out in her grief.
And Jesus is moved by her grief, He wept alongside her.
That’s all it says in that one verse. That’s all that is needed to be said. I can spend a lot of time just reflecting on those two words.
Oh, how He grieves and weeps at our wounded souls and broken hearts! He loves us so much that He weeps when we are broken.
Raising Us From The Dead and Grief
He spends time with us in our grief, but He doesn’t leave us there. If we let Him, He begins to work on our behalf.
Are you ready for what He does next? This is just so amazing!
Jesus tells the people to take the stone away from the grave. Can you imagine the revulsion and disgust from the people?
And, as though Jesus has no clue about what has been going on in that tomb, Martha tries to explain to Him how Lazarus has been dead for four days! It’s going to smell – BAD!
But Jesus doesn’t care about the stench. He knows very well what is hidden behind that tombstone. He knows the filth, the decay…He knows the death. But that does not stop Him from wanting Lazarus to come to Him, from Lazarus being awakened.
Did you catch that? Jesus knows all about the sin, the pain, the shame – everything – that we are hiding away. And it does not bother Him one little bit.
Do you also notice that Jesus reminds Martha (AGAIN) of His promise of seeing the glory of God – IF she believed? Are you ready to see His glory in your life? We must believe Him – not just believe IN Him, but BELIEVE HIM! Believe His promises! He longs to display the glory of the Father in your life.
Be Loosed From Your Graveclothes
Then Jesus prays – not for Himself, to help Himself believe, but He prays so that the people there would believe – and He even says so in His prayer. I think I would have felt pretty awkward at that point if I had been there. In fact, I have felt awkward just reading this passage because I know there have been many times when Jesus has had to remind me over and over again of who He is. And yet, He has never lost His patience with me.
Then Jesus commands Lazarus to come out of the tomb. He still had his graveclothes on. Jesus tells the people to help Lazarus take them off.
Lazarus was bound by his graveclothes.
What graveclothes are you wearing? What is keeping you bound?
How can anyone see God’s glory shining on your face when you are still bound with your graveclothes?
Do you notice that Jesus told the friends of Lazarus to help take off the graveclothes? Who are the people in your life who want to help you take off your dirty, filthy, stinky graveclothes?
Or maybe you are the one helping a dear friend with her graveclothes. It’s a messy job, isn’t it? You literally get your hands dirty helping a friend with her mess.
Oh, but the sight of seeing her set free is amazing! And such an honour!
This quote is one I read for the first time in the beginning stages of my healing. It brought me hope that one day, my story would be redeemed.
I trusted that when I was ready, God would use me to help bring healing to someone else. He has and He still is.
I believe that is how we give Him glory through our pain.
He uses our stories to bring hope and healing to others. So many people need to know the healing balm of Jesus.
Are you ready to begin allowing God to use your story to give Him glory?
There is a very special promise in Ezekiel for us.
He so desires and longs to clean our hearts, to get in there and scrub them clean. He promises to do this – He promises to help us get rid of the filth and trash that’s there, the garbage that is holding us back from His plans for our lives.
And verse 26 – I just need to repeat that verse for myself. I just love it. This is redemption. To have a heart of flesh takes courage. It’s easier to pierce flesh than it is to pierce stone.
Maintaining a heart of flesh, a soft heart, a loving heart, means we need to go to Him daily to remove any stone that might be creeping up.
Are you ready to take off those graveclothes? I think you’ve been bound in them for far too long…don’t you?
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