"The LORD kills,
and makes alive:
He brings down to the grave,
and brings up."
~1 Samuel 2:6
A friend of mine put this verse up as a status update the other day.
It's not one of those verses that make you feel happy if you look at it wrong.
But for the first time, I noticed its order.
It doesn't say, "The Lord gives you life and then He kills you.
First you live, and then you're buried."
It says, "He brings down, and brings you up."
Jesus received word from friends that He loved:
"Lord, behold, he whom you love is sick."
It says He loved them.
And it is apparent that they knew He loved them.
They summoned Him on the basis of their friendship.
And He did not come.
He let him die.
And He told His disciples that the sickness was not unto death.
"Our friend Lazarus is fallen asleep; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep," He said.
The disciples thought that was a good sign.
I think it's kind of funny that they had the Author of Life with them,
and they're still trying to discern signs of hope when a friend is deathly ill.
So then Jesus told them plainly, "Lazarus is dead."
Thomas's response: "Let us also go, that we may die with him."
Isn't that what so deeply wounds us when we face the death of our loved ones?
Death comes for us all.
Martha's first words to Jesus are, "If You had been here, he wouldn't be dead!
Even now, whatever You ask, I know God will give You."
God doesn't listen to my prayers... but I know He hears You.
Jesus said to her, "Thy brother shall rise again."
She gives a theologically sound response: Yes, at the resurrection.
At that magical time at the end of the age...
He wanted her to understand that He is Life, He is Resurrection,
and faith in Him envelops us in His Life.
"He that believes on Me, though he die, yet shall he live;
and whosoever lives and believes on Me shall never die.
Do you believe this?"
Mary came, and had the same reproach for Him.
When I read Mary's words I think she was more accusatory than her sister Martha.
More struck down.
It says that when He saw Mary's weeping,
He was troubled and groaned in His spirit.
He didn't reason with Mary in her grief.
He wept, and He demonstrated.
He called her brother right out of the grave.
Out of the decay of four days' rotting.
"And he that was dead came forth,
bound hand and foot with grave-clothes;
and his face was bound about with a napkin.
Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go."
One day, we will each hear Him,
still calling us by name though we are dead.
"I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob..."
And, bound in our death wraps, we'll obey.
And He will say, "Loose her, and let her go."