Most of our discussion on Sunday revolved around the account in John, chapter 11, of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.
Terry threw out an interesting question as part of our study- How did Lazarus feel about being brought back? Who would want to return to earth after experiencing heaven for four days?
We all agreed it must have been difficult to come back, at least from our perspective.
"So the sisters sent word to Jesus, "Lord, the one you love is sick." (vs. 3)
However Jesus delayed his return, apparently on purpose for two additional days, even though
"Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus."(vs. 6)
When Jesus called him back, Lazarus smelled and had "his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face."(vs. 44) So at the voice of God, like it or not, he walked out of his tomb, probably stumbling, certainly blindfolded, no doubt wondering where he was. Jesus tells the people watching"Take off the grave clothes and let him go."(vs. 44)
No doubt Lazarus's story would be a best seller today!
The miraculous sign Jesus performed by resurrecting Lazarus would persuade many people to put their faith in God - but also lead to his arrest and crucifixion.
There are times in all our lives, like Martha, we may say to God "Lord, if you had been here........"
For Martha, Jesus's absence meant her brother's death. His delay put her brother in a tomb for four days. She was grief stricken and overwhelmed, but she knew the Lord held the hope she needed.
"Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"(vs.25)
Martha makes a bold statement back to Jesus- before her brother is raised from the dead, while she is brokenhearted, before she witnesses the miracle.
"Yes, Lord," she told him, "I believe you are the Christ, the Son of God who was to come into the world."(vs. 27)
Hearts that recognize God and put their faith in God eventually see his resurrecting power. Maybe not by receiving the answer we had prayed for (such as a dead body being revived) but by using our testimony of God's strength and hope, comfort and grace in the midst of our tragedies to be a beacon of hope and light to others.
As we pray for the people affected by Hurricane Sandy, and read the remarkable stories of how people are rallying to bring tangible help to those in need, it shows us even in darkness, God's resurrecting power shines through people.