Life after death does not always come a few days later. After letting go of everything I was challenged with a life altering question:
How do I now believe, hope and trust without getting myself in the same mess I had before?
That was a difficult question for me to answer and it kept me in my invisible tomb for almost a year. The struggle that had led to my death had ended but the struggle to live was just beginning.
The story ends and begins at the tomb. When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead He had the stone removed before calling out to Lazarus. Notice the stone had been rolled away and Jesus had commanded but Lazarus still had to respond. Lazarus had to, while still bound, get up and walk out of his tomb. Jesus did not go into the tomb, unwrap him and then speak. Instead Jesus opened the tomb (removed the barrier – only He can do this) then He spoke (gives life – again only He can do this) and Lazarus responded (only we can do that.)
Jesus was calling me but I would not get up and get out. I was afraid. I heard his voice but instead of only focusing on his voice I also listened to the voice of the enemy instilling fear in my heart. The thing was I was not fully aware of what God had begun to do in my life but the enemy was very aware that he had lost his hold on me the same way he did when God raised Jesus from the dead. Satan knows firsthand what happens when the life giving power of God’s resurrection touches a life, and he will fight to the end to prevent it. But just like he could not keep Jesus and Lazarus in the grave he cannot keep us in the grave. God is greater and He is sovereign:
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.”
John 10:27-30 NLT
I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying.
John 11:25 NLT
The Lord of Heaven’s Armies has spoken—
who can change his plans?
When his hand is raised,
who can stop him?”
Isaiah 14:27 NLT
I wish I could say that the light bulb in my head went on. But it didn’t. I was afraid of believing in God’s promises for me – I was terrified of being disappointed again. One of the reasons I still struggled was that I still could not feel him. Not feeling him still had me battling doubt. I had a hard time believing He was with me and that He loved me. Of Course I did, I was still bound. Jesus did not tell Lazarus’ family to remove him from his grave clothes that had him bound until he walked out of that tomb. God’s voice had given me life because His word is alive, active, powerful and operative (Hebrews 4:12). Because once He purposes and speaks there is no stopping him. But unless I got up and walked out, regardless of what I was or was not feeling, I would remain in that tomb bound. But Praise Be To GOD who is ever faithful gracious and merciful and made sure I got out of my tomb!!!!!
If you find yourself in a pit or a dark valley it is hard to see past your circumstances…I know – I’ve been there. Sometimes it feels like Jesus does not care because He didn’t come the minute He heard the news. I believe that is how Mary and Martha felt and that that is why Mary did not go to him when she heard he had arrived. Remember this is the same Mary who did nothing but remain at Jesus’ feet. Yet she did not draw near. That was me. May I suggest that it is possible He’s waiting for you to die, just like he did with Lazarus, because the greater miracle is His resurrection power redeeming your life from the grave.
If you have died and still find yourself in the tomb Jesus is calling out to you the same way he called out to me. Don’t stay bound, isolated and alone – that’s where the enemy wants you not God. You won’t see, feel and know the redemption God has for your life while in the grave. Freedom from your bondage will not happen until you are out of the tomb. What does walking out mean to you? Is it worshiping through the pain? Believing though you cannot see? Trusting though you do not understand? Doing something you don’t want or can’t do in your own strength? Getting rid of a habit? Giving even though you don’t have? It is whatever prevents you from encountering the resurrection power of God.
Will you respond?
Will you walk out of your tomb?
LAZARUS COME FORTH!!!!!!!!!!
This is the song The Lord gave me while I was in the tomb. It took me months to get up and get out of the tomb in response to Jesus calling me to get out.
In The Darkness...I Will Sing