Thursday, January 21, 2016

Day 11...Evening Devotion

"What to Do in the Absence of God"

Good day to you all! I'm going to try to keep this devotional short today, since I got carried away yesterday. Here goes...

John 11 is widely referred to and is known chiefly because of one of three miracle resurrections that Jesus performs during his ministry. Bethany, is a little hamlet located about 2 1/2 miles southeast of Jerusalem. It's there that Jesus has a family trio that he's befriended, endeared and yes, he loves them. Their relationship with the Lord is of interest to this text, because that's where the tension lies. Sometimes we allow the length of time we've known God to get in the way of the strength of our faith in God. Length doesn't replace strength! Don't get it confused, it's the old argument of quantity versus quality.

Jesus receives message from Martha and Mary, that their brother, Lazarus is sick. Jesus intentionally waits two days before he and the disciples journey to Bethany. By then Lazarus is no long sick but he's dead. When he arrives, Martha has heard from the street committee that he's approaching the city. She runs to him with tears in her eyes, shame on her face and victimization in her voice. She's angry with God. Let me pause the story here and raise my hand, because I've been there! I've been angry with God, particularly when I thought our relationship would shield me from life's pain. But life happens (John 16:33)! But there's good news, when life attempts to destroy you, God is there to deliver you!

Once Jesus showed up, he learned what they did in his absence: they mourned, they buried Lazarus and the went home to pick up the pieces. Then Jesus says something that's frightening, take me to the body. They didn't want to go there, he stinks now. And none of us wants to go back to our life's stinky places. But Jesus reminds Martha that if you only believe in me that you'll see the glory of God. I know this is really simple, but I'm going to say it anyway, don't stop believing! I know that life can knock the wind out of you, and it even stinks sometimes. And I'm aware that if it's not one thing it's something else and that you're on the verge of throwing up your hands, walking away and saying to hell with this, but what ever you do, don't stop believing! Cry if you have to, holla when you need to but don't give up on God! Everything that you were crying about, Jesus is standing in front of you right now wanting to fix it!

You've read the text, so you know what happened. Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead. Here's the real miracle. Jewish law declared that resurrection of the body was not possible after the third day. Jesus waited on purpose until the fourth day, so that every time someone looked at Lazarus, the only thing they could say was that it was no body but God that brought you back! The glory of God was revealed in his resurrection!

Ok, ok, so what do you do in the absence of God?
1) Don't give up so soon...too many of us are writing God off as if he's a deadbeat. Hear this clearly, God has not forgotten about you. He still loves you. The pain that you're enduring (I'm talking to myself here!!!) is only momentary. Joy really doe's come in the morning!

2) Don't you dare draw the wrong conclusion...just because you can't see God moving, doesn't mean that he's not up to something! Don't be so sight driven. If you've been born again, we walk by faith! Faith will raise your dead dreams, put breath back in your relationship and turn your finances around! But don't sit down on God, give him something to work with!

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