by Susan Nichols, Fellowship Bible Church CR sister, September 20, 2017
“A man named Lazarus was sick. He lived in Bethany with his sisters, Mary and Martha. So the two sisters sent a message to Jesus telling him, “Lord, your dear friend is very sick.” 4 But when Jesus heard about it he said, (Psalm 11:1, 3-4, NLT)
I’ve heard the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead many, many times over the years: Jesus heard Lazarus was sick. Check! He waited 2 days to go. Check! Lazarus came out of the tomb. Check, check! Recently, when I heard yet another teacher announce this passage for the day’s teaching…well, let’s just say I settled into my chair as comfortably as I could and waited for dismissal. I was humbled, however, as I listened and began to realize that I am Lazarus.
Scripture doesn’t reveal what kind of life Lazarus lived before he met Jesus, but I can share a little about mine. My parents divorced when I was 8, I was painfully shy and endured molestation at the hands of family members till I was 17. I was rebellious, drinking and becoming promiscuous till I married at 18. I had two abortions by 20 and two suicide attempts in the same number of years. I spent some time in the lockup ward of an inpatient facility for threatening a third suicide attempt. My husband was murdered not long after returning from the Gulf War, leaving me a widow at 20. I am Lazarus.
Years of pain, shame, and abuse had buried me emotionally and I wanted to die physically as well. My eyes were covered and my body bound by grave clothes of my own making. I couldn’t see that there was another way. I didn’t believe there was a better life. I felt I couldn’t endure another year, another month, another day of living. If all life could give me was more of the same, why should I continue? What was the point? I am Lazarus.
Then Jesus, in His good time, called me forth, out of my grave of a life. He uncovered my eyes and caused me to see that life had been painful, but He was Life itself and could change mine forever. He took off my grave clothes and unbound my hands and feet, enabling me to live for Him. He has been setting me free ever since that time. He has set me free from the effects of physical, mental, and sexual abuse. He is restoring life to relationships which I thought were beyond help. He has given me hope and love beyond understanding.
My life, which was futile and hollow, is now a testimony to the greatness and faithfulness of God, to all that He can do with brokenness. I’m most definitely a work in progress. I’m flawed and fail daily, but I rise with each new day to tackle the things He puts before me and to accept the gifts He gives to me.
The name Lazarus means, “Whom God helps.”
I am Lazarus. So are you!
Click HERE to listen to Who Am I by Casting Crowns