Day One: Lazarus
It had been four days --four dark days of weeping, of wondering, and of asking why. "If you had been here…" Martha whispered to the Lord as she ran to meet Him on the dusty road in front of her home.
"If you had been here…" Mary echoed and then fell down at His feet, the grief too much for her physical frame to bear. Sorrow overflowing, still she clung to her faith in Him. He saw the tears streaming down her face, streaming down the faces of the friends who had come to mourn, and Jesus wept.
"If you believed," He pled with them, "you would see…"
They took away the stone from the place where the dead man lay. Then Jesus prayed, and the Father heard, and Jesus cried with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come forth"
Come forth from the darkness.
Come forth from the mourning, the sorrow, and the anguish.
Come forth form that which holds you back…and be healed.
This miracle of miracles marked one of the highest points in the ministry of Jesus Christ up to that moment in His mortal life. It was an experience that symbolized the hope in which His disciples believed. It came when every human condition would suggest it shouldn't have.
In the darkest moment.
The story is a reminder that the Lord is constantly aware of us. He sees the mourning, the yearning for answers, and He hears the questioning why. Surely He weeps with us, just as He did with Martha and Mary.
We must remember that ours is a God of miracles. Most often the healing, the deliverance, will come in unexpected ways ––that is the way of the Lord.
Always, He is the means of bringing hope.
The account of Lazarus reminds us of the truth that hope can come forth unexpectedly out of dark places.
The first tradition of Easter begins with the darkest soil I can find and a handful of red wheat berries. (Found in the bulk section of most grocery stores.)
To begin this tradition, we talk about hope and the power it has to come forth out of the darkest of situations. Then we fill the pots with soil almost to the brim. After we have spread the soil evenly, we cover the top with a full layer of wheat berries. Last, we place a thin layer of dark soil on top of the seeds. For the first three days, water the seeds every morning and every night. It won't be long before the green shoots begin to come forth from the black soil. It is amazing how quickly and unexpectedly the green breaks through the darkness.
So it is with hope.