~By: Susanna Kozlow~
"Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. “Take away the stone,” he said.“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.” Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” John 11:38-40
With that...Jesus brought Lazarus to life!
I recently had to say goodbye to one of the most influential women in my life - my mother. She has been the one who has been my example all my life and who went on her knees everyday for me in prayer. I reflected tremendously as I watched her fade away. I learned so much from her suffering. What gave me enormous hope was that even though my mom’s earthly body would die, she would be resurrected to her perfect form. This is a promise from the God of the universe, made possible from the ultimate sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Then came another day, after the passing of my mother, where God showed me that in this life, there will be suffering for a greater purpose. What I heard was, “All things must die in order to be resurrected.” I never truly could understand that because I have a tendency of believing what I feel and what I see, and we all have been in a place where things seem impossible. Sometimes when things seem so broken, we believe the lie that there is no possible way God can fix that. Then we put it to the side and begin to wonder WHY. Why, God? Why would You allow this to happen? Why now? We come to place of questioning God’s love for us and His ability to move mountains. How quickly we do this breaks my heart, but I found myself getting on my knees and asking the same thing. WHY, God?
In my pain, I went about my responsibilities. As I drove my children to school, my heart was heavy. I saw no hope. I felt no hope. My prayers were more like screaming sessions to my Heavenly Father. And because He is the loving Father He is, He gave me a glimpse of hope. I turned on the radio and "Resurrection” by Elevation Worship came on. I had heard this song before, but I really heard it at that moment:
"By Your spirit I will rise
From the ashes of defeat
The resurrected King, is resurrecting me
In Your name I come alive
To declare Your victory
The resurrected King, is resurrecting me"
I thought, WOW, what powerful words, and how fitting since we just celebrated the resurrection of our Lord and Savior.
A few hours later, I picked up my son and decided I was going to listen to a sermon that usually comes on at noon. The sermon was about the resurrection of Lazarus. He spoke on how Jesus decided to wait four days before coming to aid. There was a great purpose in that. He would raise Lazarus from the dead with the power in Him to show the people what He could do as the Son of God. Even Martha, who spent time with Jesus and believed in Jesus, questioned Him at that moment. She basically said: "Jesus, he has been dead for four days, and his body stinks. What are You going to do with that? What CAN You do with that?" At that moment, she had no hope. But what did Jesus do? He showed her and all the people around Him that He will bring the DEAD to LIFE. At that moment it hit my heart, and my face was flooded with tears. God is in the business of bringing the DEAD to LIFE. We know this as Christ followers. We believe it, but when we are faced with a situation so big, we forget it.
Later that day, a friend prayed with me. We prayed for wisdom to know that I needed to wait on God. As she prayed, she mentioned the wait of Peter and Judas. Judas did not wait the three days to see the resurrection of Jesus. He took his own life. But Peter did. One betrayed Jesus, and the other denied Jesus. One waited and was convicted by his sin. The other was condemned and took his own life.
Jesus showed me in a matter of hours where my hope lies and Who will give me hope. Throughout Scripture we see the significance of resurrection. Jesus tells us that we must die to ourselves in order to follow Him. That means all dependence on self and all control we give to others must die. All we have belongs to God and God alone. Our entire lives belong to Him, and when He decides that something needs to die in order to be resurrected, we have to trust Him.
As I write this, I don't know how things will turn out. I don't have the answers I wish I had. I don't have timelines. But, what I do have is HOPE. Sometimes that hope comes with the decision and determination to have it everyday, no matter what I see or feel. I also am reminded that our enemy wants hope to not exist. He wants us to give up because we are being crushed. He doesn't want us to believe that God does GREAT things in the crushing. Why does God do this? Because He sees what we do not see. He is the God of the universe. He protects His people. That doesn't change. His promises DO NOT CHANGE!!! When something needs to be made new, it must die in order to be RESURRECTED!
I don’t know what you are facing today or what mountain you see in front of you that seems hopeless. I don’t know what lie of our adversary you believe. But I urge you to remember all God has pulled you through before. If you stop and begin to write down all God has done in your life, you will see how much you can praise Him for. Remember that pain and suffering in the Body of Christ is never wasted. God picks up every tear. He hears you as you cry out. And there is no mountain He cannot move. As you wait, find hope in the waiting. Know that we do not know better than God. Our timing is not God’s timing. Allow Him to be God.
If today you still see that mountain, remember where your feet are. Remember on WHOM you stand. TRUST in that. Find hope in knowing that all old will be made new. Jesus made this possible and showed us through His death and resurrection. Sometimes, the old must die kicking and screaming in order to be made new and glorious in Him.
I read something recently by author Lysa TerKeurst. She said, "Instead of saying - how will I get over this, say - how will I get through this."