Sunday, April 10, 2011

My hands are holding you...

When I was a kid, I attended a very small church, with a very close group of core friends who were all my same age. We often were given scripture memory from our various Sunday School teachers through the years and I vividly remember a point in time when the 4 of us thought it was so funny to know the shortest verse in the Bible, John 11:35 - "Jesus wept."

I had no idea at the time what that verse meant other than Jesus cried. And to be honest, I haven't thought of it since way back then.

Skip forward to today. We are attending a church who is in the middle of a series called "A Big Faith" where we are looking at how to have faith in the storms of life and what that faith can do for you when you are looking at the situation from the outside.

Today the passage came from John 11 and was talking about when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. I write notes in my Bible and had obviously previously heard a sermon on this same subject. I had written reasons why God might not have immediately answered Mary and Martha's pleas to do something to keep Lazarus alive. Today, though, something different spoke to me.

When Jesus went into the tomb to see Lazarus' dead body, even though he was warned against it due to it being a 4-day old dead body, he spent time weeping. I fully believe that he wept to show us, he felt that pain too.

When my dad was dying and died I was so angry. I was 25 years old, had been married for one month. My dad was a young 45 years old. When he was first diagnosed with cancer, we were told they "got it all" in his first surgery and that everything was well on course for him to beat this disease. However, in 2 short years, it took his life.

I was angry at God. Had God not heard our cries and prayers? Had God not heard his? He begged God to rid him of this disease so he could continue to live his life, meet his one day grandchildren, travel with my mom, the list goes on....

There are times I still get very emotional about my dad. A song at church is often what sets the tears in motion. When I am in the middle of worshipping my God, I am reminded of my dad and grow angry, right there in the pew at why it has been almost 6 long years without him.

However, after sitting through that sermon, and really, really understanding the passage, I realize that just like Mary and Martha, I feel like God could have done something to reverse or heal my dad of his cancer. We all cried out to God in hopes that he would do just that. And I fully believe God could've healed my dad, that he would and could still be here, had that been part of God's plan.

However, as I sometimes go to the place of anger and "why" I now understand that Jesus loved too. He loved Lazarus and he wept at his passing. He spent time in the tomb to weep for his loved one.

And the story doesn't end there. He raised Lazarus from the dead so that we may believe. SO THAT WE MAY BELIEVE. What a powerful thing.

Now, I know that the story didn't end the way I wanted. He didn't raise my dad from the dead, he didn't cure him from this horrible disease, but he hurt just like me. He never promised that he would give me all that I wanted or prayed for, but he did promise to walk with me through it. He promised to walk with me, through it, to see me through it, even 6 years after the fact, God can still take my anger.

During the invitation, they played the following song, and I cried like a baby because for the first time in 6 years, I realized that God wants to walk through the valley of my feelings of my dads death with me.....

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