Daily D – John 11:4
When Jesus heard it, he said, “This sickness will not end in death but is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
JOHN 11:4 (CSB)
Howdy! This is a revised edition of yesterday’s Daily D. Our Limitless Internet Plan petered out for the month and the wrong Bible verse was attached to this edition. This verse may help you make sense of what is written below.
Ollie, Millie, and I saw an old friend on our morning walk yesterday. She told about how her family has been affected by COVID recently. A man, his wife, and their adult son all died from COVID within days of one another. Her pastor also has been struggling with COVID.
Another local pastor and his son are struggling with this same deadly virus. On and on it goes. The number of deaths and infections has significantly decreased in our area. Even so, we continue hearing painful stories in this overlong and unwelcome season.
Did you ever wake up in your bed as a child and not remember how you got there? I was around thirteen or fourteen the last time that happened to me. We were at my grandmother’s house and my older cousins and I were watching something on television as the night moved toward the magic hour at the beginning of a new day.
The next thing I remember was sunlight coming through the windows. I found myself in an unfamiliar bed in an unfamiliar room. It took a few moments to recall where I was. I had no memory of moving from the floor in front of the television to the bedroom. My parents said I fussed all the way to the bed.
For most of us, that is how death will come. We will lie down to sleep and awaken in a place that is at first unfamiliar, but home. In this chapter of John’s Gospel, Lazarus had made it home. His sickness led to his death. The rituals and burial customs of the day were followed. He was laid away until That Day.
There is much to see and hear and know and take to heart in this chapter. Let us not miss the bottom line found here at the beginning. The first red letters in this chapter come in this verse. Jesus received a message that his friend who he loved was sick. This was no bout of seasonal allergies or a bad cold. This was a sickness that could lead to death.
Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death.”
Lazarus did die.
Every television show, movie, and novel has one of six kinds of conflict at its heart. This conflict provides the dramatic tension we can all relate to that holds our attention as we seek resolution. We see a couple of different kinds of conflict in this story. We also see the kind of resolution that provides a whole new perspective on some of the most enduring truths we know.
Today is an untimed day. I was supposed to be someplace else. Time blocked for months is suddenly free. I wonder if that is how Lazarus felt when he awoke on the other side? I wonder if that is how he felt when he woke up again on this side? I wonder if the relief from his rheumatism that he felt on the other side was undone when he got back to this side?
How did it feel to go from perfect peace back to the conflicts of ordinary life on this side of eternity? I wonder if he ever stopped smiling? I wonder if he laid down to rest with different prayers and expectations, hopes and dreams?
We have so much to learn from Lazarus and his dear sisters. A highlight is what we see here. Death is never the end of the story when Jesus is involved. We do not have to fear that final enemy. The sleep of death is nothing more than a refreshing nap leading to energy we have never known, beauty we have never conceived, wonder we have never imagined, and a place to call home that is perfect, peaceful, and endlessly abundant and good.
I will smile like Lazarus in the face of death.
Our Father, life is your precious gift. You give us full and meaningful lives here as we walk the path you lay out for us. You give us perfect peace forever when we lie down to sleep on this side and awaken in your presence. How could we not live with joy now and forever? Life is worth living because you fill every moment with purpose. Life everlasting enhances every good thing you provide and forever removes those things which interfere with our communion. Thank you. Amen.
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Deuteronomy 6:4-9 “Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your city gates.“
Deuteronomy 1:2, 3 It is an eleven-day journey from Horeb to Kadesh-barnea by way of Mount Seir. In the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first of the month, Moses told the Israelites everything the Lord had commanded him to say to them.
Psalm 52:8, 9 ”But I am like a flourishing olive tree in the house of God; I trust in God’s faithful love forever and ever. I will praise you forever for what you have done. In the presence of your faithful people, I will put my hope in your name, for it is good.“