Learning the unforced rhythms of grace

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I am, right now . . .

It took four days. I read John Chapter 11 four days in a row before I saw something and my spirit was soft enough to receive it. The first few days I was reading it out of discipline, "stay in the game" I thought!  I was skeptical this week though.  I mean, I've read this story so many times, I know how it finishes, what new thing could I possibly learn? 

Tonight, as I write this, I realize four days was ALSO the time it took before Jesus did the miracle in this story. Thousands of years later, it takes me four days to settle down enough to let this miracle land in my life and now that I am sitting here with my laptop and grabbing my Bible to double check the timing . . . FOUR days is the timing in this story!  (Coincidence? Nope. I think maybe God smiled waiting for me to figure this timing out!) 

Here's the story as John tells it.

Jesus has three friends who are siblings to each other: Mary, Martha and Lazarus. Jesus finds out that Lazarus has become really sick in a nearby town but Jesus doesn't rush to go. He stays a few more days where he is with his disciples and then decides to go see his sick friend. He gives a small hint about how this experience will be to glorify God and that there's nothing to worry about. His disciples question him about the safety of the trip etc. and Jesus tells them that Lazarus has actually died and he's going to wake him up! 

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So, Jesus and his disciples take a road trip to the city of Bethany where Lazarus was. By the time he got there, Lazarus had been dead for FOUR days! The sisters and friends and family were grieving and Martha came out of the house to confront Jesus. She said that if he had been there sooner, Lazarus would have not died! She challenged Jesus to do something. She believed in him. Jesus replied that yes, Lazarus would live again. Martha replied with what seemed like a "Ya, ya, I know . . . " that she knew "someday" Lazarus would be resurrected with all believers at the end of time.

But then Jesus spoke this next sentence and it stopped me in my reading.  He said, "You don't have to wait for the end. I am, right NOW, Resurrection and Life.

The rest of the chapter is amazing so go ahead and read it here . . . if you want. But I'm going to stay on this point for a moment. What does it mean that Jesus is, right now, Resurrection and Life, offered to us as in the present as a description of his identity? What is dead around me, in circumstances, in relationships, in hopeless, despairing situations that desperately need life breathed into it? Jesus is, right now, Resurrection and Life!

It's amazing. It's crazy! It's hopeful.

I live with chronic illness and pain. Jesus hasn't healed it. But he is, right now, Resurrection and Life to me! He gives me comfort in MRI machines as they whir and thump around my head. He is my company when I am curled up in pain and unable to get to my to-do list. He, somehow, breathes life and encouragement through my brokenness to others! He resurrects others from their deadness, their brokenness and I get to participate in those moments because Jesus is, right now, Resurrection and Life to me and to them! He resurrects my dignity, my worth, my value! He gives life to simple actions so they have profound effects. 

It's amazing. It's crazy! It's hopeful. 

I'm prayerful tonight for you, my friends, that you will, as I did this week, have a fresh realization of Jesus' offer of himself, right now, as resurrection and life to you and all the complex and uncertain and stressful and interesting realities of your lives. Rest in Him! There is hope, my friends, real hope because of who Jesus is!