What Situation Are You Facing: Lazarus or Stephen?
I am reading CS Lewis’ “A Grief Observed,” his incredibly vulnerable journal entries in dealing with the passing of his wife. In chapter 3, he wrestles with his longing for his wife to return to life but invites the question I want us to wrestle with: which is better, Lazarus or Stephen?
Death is a part of life. It is unavoidable. Death can be physical death, but also the end of a dream, job, a relationship. Because this world is finite, ALL things must and will eventually end in death. Our faith gives us the assurance Jesus has conquered death, the grave and with that, has resurrection power. Let’s be honest: do we really want/need some situations to be resurrected? Take the two men whose experiences with death are incredibly profound.
– Lazarus (John 11). He is sick and dies. We see Jesus delay, cause tremendous grief for Lazarus’ family–Mary and Martha–who now struggle with believing in Jesus because “He was late.” Jesus comes, resurrects Lazarus from the dead. People who panicked and doubted realized their house of faith was really a house of cards and classic Jesus always shakes the ground we stand on to show us if our faith is built with bricks or cards. It’s a great story, but we often forget Lazarus died again. He is not walking the earth right now. His resurrection helped people, gave Jesus more followers, deepened the faith of others, and sent Lazarus down a road he had already travelled and probably didn’t want to again.
– Stephen (Acts 7). One of the first deacons. Peaches powerfully, is arrested, stoned and is the first martyr of the Christian church. His death revealed another classic: the paradox of the kingdom. Persecution of Christians didn’t destroy the church, it was the catalyst for conversion and growth of Christianity. His death, albeit terrible, began a chain of events that led to you reading this blog-post!
What am I trying to say? Be mindful of your thoughts and prayers.
We long for peace, harmony in this world. At times The Lord is gracious and gives them to us, but is never permanent. This is not heaven. We [Christians] have been promised trouble, deliverance from trouble (meaning we will experience….trouble) and a place is heaven at our death or his return.
Truth be told though, when pain comes, we tend to lean more towards Lazarus. We want the job, relationship, time, we want it all restored, back the way it was. Sometimes God is gracious and does that. Sometimes, God lets some things die in our lives because it is the only way we will grow.
He’s the gardener. He does the pruning. But I am the grass, not the gardener. We are the clay. He is the sculptor. We are the story and He is the story-teller.
Let Him lead, end, resurrect situations as He sees fit.