Personal Devotions: Thoughts on Lazarus’ Resurrection

If you have been following my blog for a while you will know that resurrection is a theme of my life right now.  I’ve had some thoughts recently about Lazarus’ resurrection based on the fact that I’ve been personally getting extremely worn out with everything that’s happening on the personal front.  It was so bad that discerning readers would have realized a lull of several weeks here on the blog. (Sorry about that!)

I couldn’t bring myself to write, to concentrate, on anything…. everything slowed down – and I even found myself tired all the time. I mean ALL. THE. TIME.

Classic signs of depression?  Maybe.

This post itself was sitting in my Drafts folder since April 9th, and a couple more days and it will be May 9th, so…. yeah.

Anyway, as I have decided that I will post something today irregardless of how I feel, I pick up the resurrection theme as I focus, not so much on the resurrection itself, but on the wait. Jesus made Mary and Martha wait before he went to Lazarus’ side.

For me, right now, I feel exactly like Mary and Martha felt when Jesus got there:

John 11:21
“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died.

Everything around me seems to be dying.  My marriage is crumbling, I’ve felt rejected by my church family …. it’s like, what ISN’T going wrong?  I cry out to Jesus, trying to do the right thing and make things right, and …. I get more pain.  It’s like Jesus isn’t hearing me.  It’s like, he is waiting till I die before he comes to rescue me.  And I hate it.

Jesus heard that Lazarus was sick and deliberately stayed where he was two more days.

I feel so abandoned…..

But I have to remember the words of the Scripture passage – the words of Jesus (verse 4), “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”

Is God deliberately waiting for things to get worse so that he could get the greater glory? I don’t know, but I am struggling to hold on to the fact that I know Jesus is good.  All the time. My circumstances aren’t good.  The consequences of my actions haven’t been good. But Jesus is good. Period.

I had a thought while I was struggling with feeling abandoned.  I thought to myself – if things aren’t dead, you can’t have a resurrection.  If there is a hint of life, then what happens is miraculous, but it is a healing, not a resurrection.  Doesn’t change how I feel. But I know that it is the truth.

So… here’s to death.  And to life.


Life Together: Relationship is the Key

“It is a picture of my bride, the Church: individuals who together form a spiritual city with a living river flowing through the middle, adn on both shores trees growing with fruit that will heal the hurt and sorrows of the nations. ….”

“….. You’re talking about the church as this woman you’re in love with; I’m sure I haven’t met her…. She’s not the place I go to on Sundays.”

‘Mack,  that’s because you’re only seeing the institution, a man-made system.  That’s not what I came to build.  What I see are people and their lives, a living breathing community of all those who love me, not buildings and programs.”

The above is a quote from “The Shack”, which I am reading through at the moment.  (Thank you for all who suggested – several times – that I read it … I can see why!) This book is so rich in truth about God and his relationship with us … as an extension of the relationship the Trinity has within itself.  I can’t put it down!

And yes, I know it’s a work of fiction.  I am not equating it with Scripture, but the concepts in this book are so poignant. The author – AND God the Father (called Papa in the book) – work deliberately to utterly destroy what men believe they know about God and his relationship with us.  I can see why some people would be uncomfortable with it – but I just have two words to say:  poetic license. Enough said.  *grin*  Here’s an example – those who read the book would know that Papa is God the Father, but in the book is represented as an African American woman, who said, in part,

“… I am neither male nor female, even though both genders are dreived from my nature.  If I choose to appear to you as a man or a woman, it’s because I  love you.  For me to appear to you as a woman and suggest that you call me Papa is simply to mix metaphors, to help you from falling so easily back into your religious conditioning.”

Powerful stuff.


I didn’t plan it, but this post is an extension of my earlier Life Together Series – Showing Mercy, A Mutual Dependency, Authentic Friendships, and  A Shared Life. In fact, before my hiatus, I was dealing with relationship …. and the LoTR post that I still have to set up (sorry for promising for so long) will deal with fellowship and loyalty in relationship as well… stay with me.  It’s been a rough road for me – thanks for sticking this out with me.  Anyway as I was saying….

If the Church is not about the building, about the institution (“I don’t create institutions – nver have, never will”, Jesus said in the book) – what is it? Or, as Mack asked, “How can I become a part of that church?  This woman that you seem to be so gaga over?”

Jesus answers,

“It’s simple, Mack.  It’s all about relationships and simply sharing life.   What we are doing right now … being open and available to others around us.  My church is all about people and life is all about relationships.  You can’t build it.  It’s my job, and I’m actually pretty good at it,”

What about that?  There are so much nuggets of gold – more like great big pearls – of wisdom in this book… it’d take a while for me to process them all.

So, for God’s church to be authentic, we need to share life together,  authentic relationship.  Looking at one more set of quotes from The Shack, we bear out this point.  Talking to Jesus, Mack is asking about whose “in charge” of the Trinity – “I love how you treat each other.  It’s certainly not how I expected God to be.”  He tried to explain:

“… I have always thought of God the Father as sort of being the boss and Jesus as the one following orders, you know, being obedient…. the Sprit always seemed to be …. a free Sprit.”

Mack tried one more time,

“You know what I am talking about.  I am talking about who’s in charge.  Don’t you have a chain of command?”

Papa, Jesus and Sarayu had no idea what Mack was trying to say.  Jesus eventually said this:

“Mackenzie, we have no concept of final authority amoug us, only unity.  We are in a circle of relationship, not a chain of command… What you are seeing here is a relationship without any overlay of power.  We don’t need power over the other because we are always looking out for the best.  Hierarchy would make no sense among us.”

And we are a part of that great Scheme of relationship.  Jesus later says,

“As the crowning glory of Creation, you were made in our image, unencumbered by structure and free to simply ‘be’ in relationship with me and one another.  If you had truly learned to regard each other’s concerns as significant as your own, there would be no need for hierarchy.”

Ok so there it is.  Straight.

What does this post mean to you?  Is relationship like this possible?  Can anyone say that it is evident in their own life?  Discuss!

Time: The Key to Relationship Building

In an earlier post, I spoke about obedience to God’s calling whenever he wanted me to spend time with him. (Click here for the link to my earlier post.)

The issue is, TIME is the key to relationship building. If you don’t invest time in a relationship, the long and short of it is that relationship will die for lack of nurture. Seeking God, like any other relationship, uses time as a unit of measure. I am convinced that we need to invest time, and lots of it, to see ourselves grow in the knowledge of God.

So, to those looking for the KEY (you know who you are!) …. it is TIME. Making time for the one you love and seeking after that time with passion – even guarding that time jealously from as much interruptions as you can.

And for those of you who have been neglecting your relationships – not just the one with the Lord, but with others around you as well – salvage them by dedicating time to them.

Find a balance – don’t give more time to one because it is weak and ignore the seemingly stronger ones; those that look stronger will crumble very fast.