Have you ever felt that your dreams have died? That your ideals have become nothing more than ideas? Have you ever felt so utterly forgotten and forsaken, and wondering what happened and where on earth you went wrong?
Mary and Martha must have felt the very same way when their brother Lazarus died. The three were dear friends to Jesus, and when Lazarus became sick, his faithful sisters Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus, knowing that He could heal him. But rather than come immediately, Jesus chose to stay where he was for a further two days and Lazarus died.
Mary and Martha must have been devastated and dumbfounded. Where was Jesus? Why had He left them? Why had He failed them?
When Jesus finally arrived in Bethany, Lazarus had been in the grace for four days. He was already starting to decay. The sisters were speechless at Jesus apparent lack of concern and lack of action, yet they were about to witness His greatest miracle.
Jesus raised Lazarus to life.
He woke his friend from his sleep and returned him to his amazed and overjoyed family. Sure, healing Lazarus would have been a marvellous miracle in its own right, but raising him from the dead was a straight up supernatural event. Seeing the hopes and dreams of a life with Lazarus die before their eyes, only to watch Jesus breathe life back into their brother must have been the most life-changing, faith-affirming moment of their entire lives.
Last Sunday was my first day back on the worship team in 8 months. A lot can happen in 8 months. We sang a song called Raised to Life by Elevation Worship and as I reflected on the words, tears sprang to my eyes.
What does it mean to be raised to life? We might think of the literal translation of being raised from the dead like Lazarus, but as I pondered this phrase my spirit stirred. In order to be raised, something has to die. I am not talking about a physical death, but more the death of a dream, of an ideal.
You may have started 2018 too scared to dream at all. You may have arrived with dashed hopes, plans in tatters and a battered, bruised heart. I want to encourage you that if your dreams seemed to have died, if your ideals are seemingly impossible, just wait on the Lord. If they are the dreams and plans He has for you, He will give you a peace about your situation and lead you to something new. But maybe, just maybe, He is waiting in the wings, biding His time.
Because only when a dream is dead, can it be raised to life.
“Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believe?” ~ Jesus
John 11:40 NLT