LENT Day 18 – Wonder

Then he shouted, “Lazarus, come out!”  And he came out, a cadaver, wrapped from head to tow, and with a kerchief over his face. – John 11

My son was born just shy of 16 years ago.  I was on bedrest with him from 21 weeks to 36 weeks because of contractions.  About a week or two before he was born he had stopped moving around.  I had panicked and made a run to McDonald’s to order some fries and a caffeinated soda.  I had heard that would sometimes get babies moving again.  It worked.  He did start moving around, so I never went in to see the doctor.  I realize now that I probably should have gotten my little one checked out.

When I went into active labor and my husband and I got to the hospital I was dilated to a five and things were progressing very smooth.  I was questioning not getting an epidural because I was feeling so well.  Last minute I decided to get the epidural – which was one of the best decisions I ever could’ve made.

If you’ve ever been in the hospital with a woman in labor you know that they wrap a large ace bandage type thing around your belly that is attached to a square thing that monitors your baby’s heartbeat.  I had mine on and was just laying in the hospital bed after the doctor had come in and broke my water.  The epidural had taken effect and I was numb from my waist down.  I could hear the very fast heartbeat of my baby boy.  Suddenly the sound changed and was getting considerably slower.  I looked over at the numbers on the screen and watched them falling.  It only took me a second to realize that was the baby.  That’s when two or three nurses came running into my room.  One went right to the monitor and shut off the sound.  The others came over and were physically pushing my body over from side to side.  They were urgently attempting to get my baby’s heartbeat back up before we lost it all together.  Finally the only way his little heart would stay beating strongly was if I was on on my hands and my knees.  If you are a mother you know that you would do whatever it takes to ensure the safety of your child.  This was no exception.  I would’ve stayed in that position for 6 days if that’s what it took.  The doctor came in with scrubs for my husband and we were under strict instructions that if this happened one more time they would be taking me in for an emergency c-section and my husband was to be ready – they wouldn’t wait for him.  Fortunately it was only roughly four hours in that position before he was ready to make his debut in this world without the need for surgery.

After only a few pushes my son came out along with the cord wrapped around his neck.  We realized then that as soon as the water was broken and the cushion he had was gone, there was too much pressure on the cord.  By me staying all those hours on my hands and knees I was able to provide for him the cushion his cord needed so he could survive. Luckily I had asked for the epidural so I never felt the discomfort of so many hours in the same position on your knees.  As soon as they laid his little body on my chest and I saw his beautiful face I was in awe.  He was this precious wonder bundled up in my arms.  I was grateful he was alive.  I was astonished that he was so perfect.  It was a beautiful gift from God.

Our story today in Chapter 11 is called The Death of Lazarus.  I understand that it may be a hard story for some people to read.  It is a wondrous story about compassion and miracles.  But it is also one of grief and sadness.   This may hit very close to your heart because you have experienced grief and sadness that didn’t end up like Lazarus or my son.  But Jesus knows your story.  He feels your grief.  He understands your sadness.  That’s what he wants you to hear when you listen to the words of this story.

During this part of Jesus journey, his very good friend falls ill.  He is unable to leave right then and there to heal his sick friend.  It turns out that his friend passes away.  When Jesus is on his way back, he is met by Lazarus’ sister Martha who tells Jesus:

“Master, if you’d been here, my brother wouldn’t have died.  Even now, I know that whatever you ask God he will give you.”

Then he meets up with Lazarus’ other sister Mary.

Mary came to where Jesus was waiting and fell at his feet, saying, “Master, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

When Jesus saw her sobbing and the Jews with her sobbing, a deep anger welled up within him.  He said, “Where did you put him?”

“Master, come and see,” they said.  Now Jesus wept.

The Jews said, “Look how deeply he loved him.”

Those three words prove to us how compassionate our God is.  Now Jesus wept.  Jesus felt the pain from Mary, Martha, and Lazarus friends.  He felt the pain of losing his own close friend.  And he wept.  Jesus feels your pain.  He understands what you are going through.

We may never know why Lazarus was brought back to life or why my son survived his cord around his neck.  We may never know why your loved one was lost.  But we can always take comfort in knowing Jesus is there to comfort us in our pain.  We can see the wonder in his dedication to you and I in our deepest, darkest moments.  He will always provide to us the miracle of his unending love and devotion.

I pray that today you will take in the whole story below.  That you will take comfort in the story if you are grieving the loss of a loved one or just the loss of your freedom to congregate and socialize.  Whatever it is – Jesus weeps with you and unwraps for you wondrous miracles you may just not be able to see right now.

STUDY – John 11 (The Death of Lazarus) – The Message Bible
A man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha.  This was the same Mary who massaged the Lord’s feet with aromatic oils and then wiped them with her hair.  It was her brother Lazarus who was sick.  So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Master, the one you love so very much is sick.”
When Jesus got the message, he said, “This sickness is not fatal.  It will become an occasion to show God’s story by glorifying God’s son.”
Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, but oddly, when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed on where he was for two more days.  After the two days, he said to his disciples, “Let’s go back to Judea.”
They said, “Rabbi, you can’t do that.  The Jews are out to kill you, and you’re going back?”
Jesus replied, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight?  Anyone who walks in daylight doesn’t stumble because there’s plenty of light from the sun.  Walking at night, he might very well stumble because he can’t see where he’s going.”
He said these things, and then announced, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep.  I’m going to wake him up.”
The disciples said, “Master, if he’s gone asleep, he’ll get a good rest and wake up feeling fine.”  Jesus was talking about death, while his disciples thought he was taking a nap.
Then Jesus became explicit:  “Lazarus died.  And I am glad for your sakes that I wasn’t there.  You’re about to be given new grounds for believing.  Now let’s go to him.”
That’s when Thomas, the one called the Twin, said to his companions, “Come along.  We might as well die with him.”
When Jesus finally go there, he found Lazarus already four days dead.  Bethany was near Jerusalem, only a couple of miles away, and many of the Jews were visiting Martha and Mary, sympathizing with them over their brother.  Martha heard Jesus was coming and went out to meet him.  Mary remained in the house.
Martha said, “Master, if you’d been here, my brother wouldn’t have died.  Even now, I know that whatever you ask God he will give you.”
Jesus said, “Your brother will be raised up.”
Martha replied, “I know that he will be raised up in the resurrection at the end of time.”
“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.  And everyone who lives believing in me does not ultimately die at all.  Do you believe this?”
“Yes, Master.  All along I have believed that you are the Messiah, the Son of God who comes into this world.”
After saying this, she went to her sister Mary and whispered in her ear, “The Teacher is here and is asking for you.”
The moment she heard that, she jumped up and ran out to him.  Jesus had not yet entered the town but was still at the place where Martha had met him.  When her sympathizing Jewish friends saw Mary run off, they followed her, thinking she as on her way to the tomb to weep there.  Mary came to where Jesus was waiting and fell at his feet, saying, “Master, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
When Jesus saw her sobbing and the Jews with her sobbing, a deep anger welled up within him.  He said, “Where did you put him?”
“Master, come and see,” they said.  Now Jesus wept.
The Jews said, “Look how deeply he loved him.”
Others among them said, “Well, if he loved him so much, why didn’t he do something to keep him from dying?  After all, he opened the eyes of a blind man.”
Then Jesus, the anger again welling up within him, arrived at the tomb.  It was a simple cave in the hillside with a slab of stone laid against it.  Jesus said, “Remove the stone.”
The sister of the dead man, Martha, said, “Master, by this time there’s a stench.  He’s been dead four days!”
Jesus looked her in the eye.  “Didn’t I tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”
Then, to the others, “Go ahead, take away the stone.”
They removed the stone.  Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and prayed, “Father, I’m grateful that you have listened to me.  I know you always do listen, but on account of this crowd standing here I’ve spoken so that they might believe that you sent me.”
Then he shouted, “Lazarus, come out!”  And he came out, a cadaver, wrapped from head to tow, and with a kerchief over his face.
Jesus told them, “Unwrap him and let him loose.”

 

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s