John 11:32-36,38-39a,43b-44 – Then, when Mary came where Jesus was, and saw Him, she fell down at His feet, saying to Him, "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died." Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. And He said, "Where have you laid him?" They said to Him, "Lord, come and see." Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, "See how He loved him!" Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. Jesus said, "Take away the stone." He cried with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come forth!" And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, "Loose him, and let him go." (NKJV)
Maybe you've had this experience: you open your Bible, begin to read a familiar story, and then, suddenly, your attention is taken by something you have not seen before. It is fresh and invigorating, and calls you to a new understanding of God's love and the life He provides.
That happened for me shortly after my husband's sudden death when I read today's story of Jesus resurrecting Lazarus.
At the time when I read the passage, I was doing my share of groaning, feeling troubled, and weeping. My husband had moved to heaven, and I felt dead, overwhelmed, paralyzed, and alone in a dark place. It was a comfort to know that Jesus groaned and wept when He faced the recent death of a loved one.
After connecting with Jesus' compassion that day, at any moment when I stalled in an emotionally troubled place to groan, I would sense a Holy Spirit "nudge" to "come", and my attention would go to someone or something where I find enthusiasm and hope. Every one of those emotional turns was a moment of resurrection for me.
I believe that each of those resurrection events was an answered prayer. After Bob died, I received countless cards and emails from other believers in Christ telling me that I was being upheld in prayer. I feel prayers being answered each time when I am recalled from tears, troubles, and groans, to enthusiastic hope. Yes, thanks be to the Lord, I find myself living resurrection moments all the time!
My pastor recently loaned me two books by Eugene Peterson: Living Resurrection, The Risen Christ in Everyday Life and Practice Resurrection, a Conversation on Growing Up in Christ. Both books affirmed my experiences of personal resurrection.
How about you? Do you experience Jesus' compassion and call to new life by His Holy Spirit in everyday life?
Prayer: Father in heaven, we thank You for the gift of life! In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, we ask to be ever aware of Your Holy Spirit in our midst. May we live life to the full in Christ. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "Work For The Night Is Coming" (Lyrics)