I have followed Christ for about 15 years now, but in the last few years I have gained a better understanding of one of the dichotomous tenets of Christianity: the idea that sometimes death is a good thing.
I have not been around for long, but I have been around (followed Christ) long enough to know that death is not the end. Death is not always a bad thing. This is one of the core tenets of the Christian faith. In fact, our faith is based on Christ, a man that died.
Good news: God resurrects routinely.
In John 11 we see an example of physical death and resurrection. The story of Lazarus is familiar for most people raised in the Church (this guy, *raises hand*).
Here are the highlights:
- Lazarus becomes sick.
- Jesus is informed, and He proclaims that this illness will not result in death, but will be used for the glory of God.
- Lazarus dies.
- Jesus waits a few days, then returns to Bethany (where Lazarus and Co are).
- Mary and Martha express faith that if Jesus had been there, He could have prevented the death of Lazarus.
- Jesus is moved, because He loves them.
- Jesus asks to see the tomb.
- Jesus asks them to open the tomb.
- Martha objects due to odor.
- Jesus responds with this question – “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”
- The people open the tomb.
- Jesus commands Lazarus to come out of the tomb.
- Lazarus comes out, a resurrected man.
Good news (for Lazarus especially): God resurrects routinely.
Like many of you reading this, I have witnessed death in the physical sense. Certainly more in the non physical sense though. We have all seen hopes, dreams, friendships, and relationships die. This happens quite a bit it seems. Not surprising since we are called to die to ourselves daily. Still, it is tough to see things die.
As I reflect on the story of Lazarus, I recognize a few principles that have carried me through deaths I have endured in the past –
- Jesus loves you –
- This cannot be overstated and we cannot be reminded of this enough. Jesus loves you and sometimes that means withholding from us what we think is best.
- He can and does resurrect –
- He has the power to resurrect and redeem any situation. Your hopes, dreams, and desires may need to die so that He can resurrect them for His purposes and in His time. Notice in the story of Lazarus, Jesus waited before He went. Those days must have been agonizing for Mary and Martha. For us, the period could be years or decades even. In that time, flex your faith muscle. Wait well, and believe.
- For His glory –
- Know this, the act of the Lord bringing the dead back to life is most certainly for His glory. When it happens in your life, make sure you give thanks!
You will face death in all areas of your life, just remember the good news (for all of us!) –
God resurrects routinely.