Today, we are talking about death – so much more cheerful than politics and voting, right?!
In case you missed it, it’s fall here in the Mid-Atlantic. It’s kind of hard to not think about death during this season because things are dying all around us. It’s beautiful, yes, but they are dying nonetheless. Winter is coming – leaves die, flowers die, gardens die, trees hibernate, animals leave. The world becomes desolate. You have to dig deep into the soil for signs of life, and above ground, it looks like it’s all over, done, dead.
The story of Lazarus has been coming up every time I turn around – at church, in my personal devotions, in sermons I’ve heard, in other conversations…you know God is trying to hammer something through your head when you see, hear, and talk about something every time you turn around! If you don’t know the story, check it out in John chapter 11.
If you were raised in the church, how many times have we heard the story of Lazarus? We have grown immune to it — “Oh yeah, him…the guy who was raised from the dead.” WHAT?! Stop and think about that…. Jesus raised him FROM. THE. DEAD. That is amazing!! That was a pretty spectacular miracle in and of itself, but it was just one instance – there are 10 times recorded in the Bible where Jesus, or the power of God, brought someone back to life! When the world saw the finality of death, God saw an opportunity to show His ultimate power. When the world said that it was done and over, God said “Watch me work!”
You know what else is amazing to me? I was dead too. I was dead in sin. I was dead to fulfilling my purpose. I was dead to my calling. I was dead to the person I was supposed to be for myself, for God and for my family. I was dead to Jesus and He brought me back to life — He made me a new creation. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” That means the old me is dead, but He raised up a better, sanctified, redeemed me! I’ll take this version for sure!
Don’t limit God by what you know. Don’t limit Him by what science says is possible. Don’t limit Him by what seems to be true or feasible. Don’t limit God by what YOU can do. Believe in faith that He can do anything. Your marriage is not dead. Your finances are not dead. Your career is not dead. Your family is not dead. That cancer is not the end for you. That relationship being over is not the end for you. Our country is not a lost cause (had to work that one in there on election day, sorry!😁 ) He can raise anything to new life – it takes faith, belief and the power of God but “with man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).
God knew I needed to be hit upside the head with this reminder this week – I tend to draw boxes around what can happen in my life by what I see or what I think is possible. I tell God what He can do based on what I’ve seen before or the “facts” I tally up – I try to do things in my own power, getting frustrated, stressed, anxious and losing my hope. What I need to do is write on my mirror, my desk, my fridge, and everywhere I can see it:
“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21.
Pray without ceasing. Dream open-ended dreams. Believe in what God can do, and stand back and let Him work. When the amazing happens, give Him all the praise and the glory, and say “Man, that’s awesome! I knew it would be! It wasn’t dead yet!”