I've been here for a while. Contemplating this very simple, over-sung, over-spoken phrase. Jesus loves you. How often I roll my eyes at this "cliché" and move on with my day as if I have more important things to remember to help me get through. Recently, thanks to a sermon by Dan Waugh, one of my pastors in Bloomington, I've been somewhat captivated by this. So, Jesus loves me. As in, he intimately knows me-and provides for not what I think I want, need or might satisfy- but what I actually need- what actually satisfies. Dan talked about the story of Lazarus and Jesus raising him from the dead. Mary and Martha, Lazarus' sisters, had asked that Jesus come to heal their ailing brother. He didn't come right away. In fact, when he got there...Lazarus was dead. Now, this used to boggle me- I mean, Jesus had demonstrated his ability to heal already. Why didn't he just do it? It wasn't until Dan spoke on this very thing, that it began to sink in. "Jesus knew that they (Mary and Martha) needed a resurrection...they needed more than a healing."
There are a couple of parts of this that have been most powerful for me. First, Mary and Martha had to wait- and there was no way on earth that they could have seen beyond their grief. I don't know about you, but I totally get that. When life is unclear, or I feel as if I need an answer- and soon- it is really hard for me to see outside of where I am at. I get consumed with the moment and demand an answer from God. And I don't understand why He isn't answering...but the waiting and allowing me to wait actually contributes to the power of what He provides. In fact, often in this time of waiting, I am ever-aware of my inability to provide my own solution. The grief, frustration or confusion that comes in waiting can result in a couple of responses: sitting in the grief or lifting your eyes. This lifting your eyes piece requires a trust in the truth that Jesus loves us. Meaning he knows us and wants to provide us with good, not evil. This leads to the second part.
He actually loves us. Like for real. If you think of a really awesome couple that you know- if you'd had the chance to peer into their lives a bit, you'll notice an honest, not fluffy, intimate connection. There is real confidence that each one is committed to protecting, serving, walking with and delighting in the other. You have this sense that there is real work that goes into establishing a relationship like this...and it is a blessing to all who interact with them. Take another example- a father and a child playing on the beach. The father delights in his little one and as she runs around, touching the water, playing with the sand, she has no doubt in her mind that he is going to be there. Every now and then she turns to make sure he is...but it isn't fear...it's just checking in. The father also calls her name when she gets too far, runs to her when she's in danger, carries her when she's hurt. How intimate this love. And to think that this is a mere fraction of Christ's love for us. Here's the kicker. After all of the displays of his love, both in my life and throughout history, I still have the gumption to doubt whether or not it's real. I don't tend to trust Him. And it's foolish not to.
The final part- the one that has transformed the way I pray. Jesus wants to demonstrate His glory...He wants to give us resurrections in our lives. The things that bring us to a deeper knowledge and love of Him. There are times for healings and miracles that we "expect", but I also think that there are radical times for the deepening of our relationship with Him. I want to be closer to Him- so I pray for resurrection in my life, heart and soul.
I write this as I am about to return to Indiana for my final semester of graduate school (celebration!!)- and with this comes the reminder that I need to trust that He will provide and guide and resurrect. I must continue to work for Him, seeking to glorify Him in what I do, say and think...but ultimately, it is He who opens the doors and transforms lives. I want a resurrection, Lord. Give me the grace to wait for your time.