Have you ever had a season in life where you felt like God was just reiterating things to you, over, and over, and over – but you just didn’t get it for the longest time? I’m in one of those seasons right now, but at the end of it it would seem, because I can see that the lesson has been etched in my heart.
This is a story about death. But don’t worry, this is actually a fun story and the truth is it isn’t even mine. (Sorry Disney, got off on a Tangled tangent there 😉 )
But really. It’s a lesson about death, and it is a pretty fun lesson, and the honest truth is that it isn’t mine, not really.
I have a story to tell you soon, not today, but suffice it to say that lately I have been struggling with certain finalities in life. God has been using examples around me as a way of reaching my heart on this subject, and I want to pass them on to you – whoever you are, reading this right now, that needs to hear what I’m going to say.
Death is not final. Not with God. The end is never really the end, unless God says so, and even then it’s simply a new beginning.
I’ve probably heard those words a thousand times in my life, but never seen it lived out the way it has been in the past few weeks.
As of a few months ago I cyber-met a group of ladies who, quite frankly, blow me away. They are the most loving, the most inspiring, the most encouraging, the most honest, and the most Godly women that I have ever met. We’ve come together on Facebook through the brilliance of a certain Kingdom Mama, and while we chat and banter here and there most days, we also meet a few times a week in our little corner of the internet to pray. That’s right. We sit down behind our computer screens and we dedicate an hour or so to simply typing out prayers together. The creator of this group said she believed that through our faithfulness to pray we would see miracles, and I think she’s right. As I write about these moments I’m getting shivers, just like I always do when we pray – and only when we pray. It is a time of sweet holiness. We lift up each other and our needs, we pray for our country, for our children, our husbands, our jobs, and everything in between.
Lately one of the prayers we’ve been laying before our God was for a sweet lady in our group and her business. There was a goal she was desperately trying to meet with her team; she had miraculously made the previous deadline, and we prayed fervently for her, for her business, and for her home of Colorado Springs, which as you may recall was burning rapidly over the past weeks. We prayed and prayed and prayed, and by the end of July, and her deadline, she came back with the news. She didn’t make it. Between the canceled appointments from those who were dealing with the fall out from the fire and a few other set backs, she just barely missed the mark. I wouldn’t have blamed her for voicing her disappointment or hurt, she worked hard for this, we prayed earnestly for it, and now it was done and over. Months of her hard work and effort had come to finality. But there was not a trace of disappointment to be found – only praise. She thanked God for his goodness. She blessed His name. Not a single complaint came from her lips, only sweet words pouring from a thankful heart.
A few days ago she came to report that, in a completely unforeseen turn of events, the director of her company had decided, because of the fires, to extend their deadline by an entire month. He resurrected her journey back to life. But seek ye first his kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matthew 6:33) I believe with my entire heart that God worked a miracle because of her faith, and to show (me) that end of the line is not the end of the story with God. He works beyond finalities.
Sometimes God allows things to die, only to break the barrier of death – solely for the purpose of resurrection.
Our dear, sweet, Kingdom Mama is going through a heart-wrenching death of her own. I (we) believe in resurrection for her too, and I believe that God is using her story to teach me that death is not the end, and should hold no power of fear over me.
It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill. So the sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill” But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not end in death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. Then after this he said to the disciples,”Let us go to Judea again” – John 11:3-7
If you haven’t read this story, I’m going to give away the ending, so consider this your spoiler alert.
Not for a minute. Jesus doesn’t show up and save him just in the nick of time. He completely, fully, dies. For four whole days.
I am afraid to say that, had I been in Mary’s shoes, I would have reacted exactly the same way.
But You said this wouldn’t end in death! Why didn’t you come?! We begged you to come!
But He hadn’t come – not in their time frame. And despite their grief-stricken interpretations, He never promised that Lazarus would not die, only that it would not end in death.
Here’s another spoiler alert for you – that wasn’t really the end.
Because Jesus brought him back to life.
Completely, fully, back to life.
Sometimes we have to walk through the valley of death before we cross into our promised lands. But this death is simply a means to an end, not the end itself.
Right now in the middle of my life I am facing what feels like finality. The door closing on friendships, on dreams and aspirations. And I can’t help but wonder if it’s simply my Lord asking me to let things die, to give them up, so that He can resurrect something beautiful from the ashes through my faithfulness and obedience.
Whether it’s relationships, friendships, jobs, or even lives, death is an opportunity to give Him praise and allow him to resurrect life more fully. Even if that death means the end of our lives here on earthm He is working in my heart to show me over and over and over, that for me, and all those who accept Him, it is only another season.
And I think I’m finally starting to get it.