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Eowyn's Heart

The name of this blog is based on the character Eowyn from Lord of the Rings because I strongly identify with her on many levels. The purpose of this blog is to proclaim the glory of my Lord and King through His work in conforming me into the image of His Son, Christ Jesus. In all things, I trust you will see His hand at work.

Thursday, June 08, 2017

What on earth is Jesus up to?

Oh, my friends! I write today from a heart full of anticipation!  And I hope to inspire the same feeling of impending awesomeness in you as I do so!!

Ron and I had a really nice weekend of total relaxation this past weekend in Pinetop.  We set all our responsibilities aside and just laid by the pool, sat in the spa, swam, enjoyed good food and, mostly, enjoyed being Best Friends.  It was wonderful.  But Monday inevitably came and we went back to work.  Along with that, I started playing catch up with "Game Plan" videos (an educational series I've been listening to that are taught by a lovely, Godly young woman named Sarah Harnisch) and the fire to see what God is going to do in our lives was rekindled.

This morning, in playing "catch up" on church (our pastor is preaching through John in "rewind" fashion - you can find the sermons HERE - they are REALLY worth hearing!!), I was reading John 11.  I got through verse 10 and realized I *needed* to write about this!  I suggest reading vs 1-16 to get the basic context of this particular incident :-)

So - setting the stage - from the disciples' perspective.  Jesus is informed that "the one whom You love is sick."  These guys know Jesus and that he loves Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, and they KNOW He can heal Lazarus - but Lazarus is in Judea (v. 7).  When Jesus heard that Lazarus was sick, He does two things that make perfect sense to his disciples - He says the sickness is NOT deadly (v4) and He doesn't rush out there to heal Lazarus (v.6).  Why would Jesus rush out to Judea to heal His friend when the sickness is not life threatening and there are Jews just waiting to stone Jesus when he sets foot in Judea (v8).  So it makes perfect sense . . . 

As we know, however (and so did Jesus) - Lazarus' illness WAS fatal.  Well, that throws a wrench in things, right?  And now things really stop making sense from a human perspective.  Two key things:  Jesus said the sickness was NOT unto death (v4) and then Lazarus died (v14) and Jesus, who could have healed Lazarus - and who KNEW what would happen if He didn't - waited . . . two days . . . until He knew Lazarus was dead . . . to begin the journey back to Judea - which freaked out the disciples because they believed that returning to Judea was a death sentence both for Jesus and for themselves (v.8 & 16).

How many times do we look at circumstances in our lives - at dead dreams, at dashed hopes, at things that just don't make sense when we KNOW God could make it different, make it better?  How many times do we look at God and say "where were you??" as Martha did (v.21).  How many times do we look at a calling God has placed in our hearts that we KNOW is what He wants for us as clearly as the disciples knew Jesus had determined to return to Judea and yet our logical minds say "that's NUTS - that could NEVER work"??

There are a couple of things this passage can teach us when we are facing those times that should give us hope and encouragement and inspiration - and as I am typing those words, they fall short of the passionate flame of CONFIDENCE in God and His way that I want to express.  All doubt and despair and fear should BURN in the fires of FAITH in our Good God!  

First,  Jesus waited to return to Judea because He LOVED Martha and Mary and Lazarus.  He LET Lazarus die BECAUSE He loved him and his sisters . . .  Maybe we should consider that God has us in circumstances where our dreams and goals and aspirations have died because He LOVES US.  

All my younger years I was SURE I was going to marry young - probably a pastor - have children - and be a shining example of what it meant to be a godly mom & pastor's wife . . . . I was SURE this was God's will for my life because it was the biggest dream of my heart.  By the time I was 25, that certainty became a question mark and I began to blame God for giving me a dream that He was not fulfilling, leaving me in frustration and feeling abandoned.  I had NO IDEA what God was doing - it didn't make sense to me that I would have this passionate desire and that I was not seeing it fulfilled.  So I turned my back on God and for a year, tried to make the "dream" come true on my own.  All I managed was a weak shadowy mockery of that hope and a depression so deep I very nearly committed suicide.  

When the Lord got ahold of my heart again, and through years of ups and downs in faith, He finally got me to a place where I allowed that dream to die.  I was not "content" to be single, but I was content to submit that dream to God and let it go.  TEN years later, having found peace with God as sufficient for me regardless of what I thought I needed - God brought me to Ron.  Not a pastor, but a man in ministry and with a generous heart of ministry to others.  So much more than I could have EVER hoped for.  A man of integrity and spunk (which I need since I'm far to serious minded!!) and kindness and such a love for me as I could never have imagined.  And he brought with him a father that demonstrated to me, for the first time in my life, how much our heavenly father loves me, and so much more!!  God let my pitifully small dreams die so that He could give me so much more!  He taught me that He ALONE is sufficient for all my needs, and then He fulfilled my dream in a manner far abundantly beyond what I could have thought possible.  I can NEVER repay God for His abundant blessing in bringing Ron and I together - it is a relationship far and above anything I had previously imagined, hoped, or dreamed.

Second, God sees the BIG picture - the LONG TERM - the ultimate goal and purpose.  Things that are not evident to us when we are in the middle of life's challenges.  How can we read in v4 that Jesus said this was not a fatal illness and then read in v 14 that Lazarus is dead?  It's not that Jesus didn't know - it's that He understood the "death" was not permanent - it was designed for a purpose.  Think about that - the greatest loss Mary and Martha suffered was DESIGNED for a PURPOSE.  That purpose was to bring glory to God and to Jesus (v4).  And that purpose was accomplished when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead as a demonstration of His power and a revelation of His deity so that they would all BELIEVE (v 15 & 25).  

In our challenges - if we will just look to Jesus - trust in His character, in His plan, in His LOVE for us.  If we will just accept that where we are at in life can and will be used for HIS glory and that it will ultimately serve to strengthen our faith as we trust in Him, the doubts and fears and despair will be swallowed up in a victorious SHOUT of TRIUMPH.  He has RISEN from the grave - He has CHOSEN us - He LOVES us - and whatever He is doing, and especially when it just doesn't make sense to us - if we will just SUBMIT to His good will, we will see miracles happen.  Dreams will be revived in God's time to be bigger and more amazing than we could have ever imagined.  Dark and difficult losses will be used to bring such great glory to Him that we could never have imagined it and the loss will become a GAIN.  

I truly hope this encourages you to face whatever trials await you today and in the coming days with confidence, courage, faith, hope, and anticipation for the Lord's good work in all of it. (Romans 8:28)

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