How are you responding to what is happening in the world right now?
In our house it has become an inside joke that no matter what is said about our current life situation the response is always, “We’re all gonna die”. It has been a humorous response to help us deal with everyone’s different responses and feelings about our situation. It is usually followed by eye rolling and giggles. In reality, the statement is not wrong. The fact that we are going to die has always been true. Coronavirus, social distancing, and quarantine hasn’t change that fact. But our little joke also offers a lot of wisdom to our situation. You can find this language and response to life situations in the wisdom of the books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament. The book of Ecclesiastes the begins with the statement of that life is like a vapor, here today and gone tomorrow.
Recently, I feel like I have whip-lash when I think about the amount of things that are here today and gone tomorrow.
I have had a hard time understanding and keeping up with all of the things that have changed and been lost in the past two weeks. I think it is ironic that we as God’s people we are also in the season of Lent. The season specifically helps us to face the reality that “We’re all gonna die” (starts with Ash Wednesday).
BUT thank God we don’t stop there. Our journey through lent always leads us to Jesus. His resurrection and celebration of new life that we find on Easter Morning.
So, let’s read one of the first stories the helps us learn about what resurrection. This is the story of Lazarus being raised from the dead. Remember, that is what resurrection is, when God take something that is dead and hopeless and gives it new life. Grabe your bible and read the story in John 11:17-44.
What stuck out to you in this story? (I know is a little long.. but seriously you have no where to be!)
There are so many things that I noticed in this story that relate to our situation today!
All those things seem relevant to me. But, you know what stuck out to me the most in this story. It is actually the shortest verse in the entire bible is vs. 35 which states “Jesus Wept”. I always have wondered about this verse because Jesus already knew that Lazarus was dead; he already knew where Lazarus went; he already knew that Mary and Martha were sad. And yet, Jesus wept with them. What made Jesus so sad? so moved? so disturbed in spirit (vs.33)?
Jesus was moved to tears, moved to sobbing… his heart was broken… Because he saw his friends weeping, he saw suffering, he saw broken hearts, he saw death, he saw the tomb. The God who created the world and knows all things was broken by the suffering and pain of the world. Jesus “was all up in his feels”.
So maybe one of the first lesson of Resurrection starts with realizing some things about life and death.
Recognize life is hard sometimes.
SO Feel your feels and name them. Write them down so you can see them. Maybe take time to list all the things that have been lost… and right now let’s think of not only our plans (prom, sports, theater, jobs, graduations). But let’s not just think of the usual busy things in our lives (let’s hope proms and graduations can be rescheduled). Let’s also take a minute to face and think of the very serious things in the world right now. So many lives have been lost recently. So many people are sick and suffering around the world. It may not have touched our lives yet.. but as the world cries out we are effected by those cries.
Share your list and your feelings them with your people.
Tell someone you trust- a friend, someone in your family, you could even tell me. Mary, Martha, Jesus, and the Jewish people needed to share their feelings together. They needed to cry together. It is so important for you to take time to do this as well (running from your feelings doesn’t work for long).
Surrender your life to Jesus and see what happens next!
Jesus did not ignore the prayers and the weeping. No one could have imagined what Jesus was going to do next. You have to Believe in Jesus and believe that He is willing and able to create new life out of death. Believe that Jesus is going to hear our weeping, be moved to cry with us, and raise Lazarus from the dead.
Choose Joy right now!
Folks, life is short because “we are all gonna die”. So we should find joy in this moment. I heard someone speak on joy this year (Rob Bell, Introduction to Joy), and they explained that there is a big difference between happiness and joy. Being happy is binary-it has an opposite. The opposite of happy is sad. But Joy is so much bigger than being happy. Joy can handle loss. Joy can handle frustration, anger, anxiety. Joy simply wraps it big arms around the fullness of all your feels, all the things that make-up your life and holds on tight. Because Joy knows some simple truths: joy knows that life is short. Joy knows that Jesus has Risen from the dead.
So choose to find joy in the small things today..