Death. No one likes it. No one wants to talk about it. It makes me squirm on the inside and shift in my seat on the outside. It is an event that is filled with raw emotion and is something that scars each of us at some point in our lives.
In this month’s reading of John 11:1-44, Lazarus, the beloved friend of Jesus, is dead. He has died, his body prepared for burial and placed inside a tomb. The tomb has been sealed and it’s been four days since his passing. His loved ones are mourning the loss of his life due to illness, seemingly unexpected. And, they are questioning why the one person who could have healed him and prevented his death did nothing; especially when they sent word of Lazarus’ condition and asked for help.
Have you lost someone or something and it didn’t make sense? Maybe the physical death of loved one? Maybe the emotional death of a relationship? Maybe the mental death of your dream? Maybe the spiritual death of your faith because it seems like God did not come through when you needed Him most.
I remember sitting in the doctor’s office, as a 20-year-old woman listening to him give me a diagnosis that involved the words, “You may never be able to have children.” Being twenty, coming off the heels of my high school relationship of four years ending, and licking the wounds of a broken heart, it was as though everything was crashing down around me. My hope of being married to someone I loved was gone. The plan of having children was now jeopardized. The ideas, goals, and dreams I had built in my mind and planned with this person were dissolving right before my eyes. It was such a heavy, dark, and difficult season of my life.
I can relate to Mary, Lazarus’ sister. Jesus arrives in Bethany after Lazarus has died. In verse 20 (NIV), it tells us, “When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.” I knew my faith was an integral part of who I was and I was going to church every week; but it felt as though God wasn’t hearing my cries regarding my broken heart and the death of my dreams. I believed He had a plan. I believed He was capable of working all things for good (Romans 8:28). But I felt alone and felt as though this death of my heart was so final and permanent. I felt hurt that He didn’t answer my cries to make everything as it was before and to relieve the emotional turmoil and pain I was suffering.
In verse 28 (NIV), Martha returns home after meeting with Jesus and tells Mary, “‘The Teacher is here,’ she said, ‘and is asking for you.’” Mary rushes to meet Jesus, falls at His feet outside the village, and you can hear the pain in her heart in verse 32 (NIV): “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Jesus does what only He can truly do: He meets Mary, Martha, and the community of friends and family that are mourning Lazarus, right where they are. He weeps with them (verse 35).
I spent many nights laying in my bed with tears rolling down my face while staring at the ceiling. I poured my heart and pain out in journals and in prayer. It was in those moments, that I know Jesus met me right where I was, in the midst of my pain and suffering.
Jesus asks where Lazarus has been buried. He goes with them to the exact spot where he is buried. That is what Jesus does. He meets us where we are and walks with us to the tomb of what has died. He mourns with us. He is there with us. Even if it seems as though He is late or His timing is off in our eyes; He will always arrive at the precise moment He needs too.
Four days after Lazarus has died, Jesus stands in front of His tomb and tells the people to remove the stone from the entrance. The stone contains the fumes and gases that come with decomposition. It keeps what is dead and decomposing away from what is alive and thriving. Martha brings up this point after Jesus makes the command to move it: “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.” (verse 39 NIV). Jesus, in his powerful way of wrapping truth with grace, asks Martha, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” (verse 40 NIV). The stone is removed, Jesus prays, and Lazarus walks out of the grave; alive, healthy, and thriving.
Four years after the death of the life I thought I would have, as I sat in a Starbucks, I met the man that I would marry. Five years after this meeting, I would give birth to our first of four children. My dreams of being married to someone I loved and plans of having children are alive, healthy, and thriving.
Jesus’ timing is impeccable.He is capable of creating something from nothing and resurrecting dead things (and people).If you are in a season where it seems as though everything around you is crumbling and the desires of your heart are dying, know that Jesus is with you.He sees your pain.He weeps with you.And He is capable of creating anything out of nothing and resurrecting that which is dead.He will work all things out for good in your life and in mine.He invites you and I to Come and See the beauty and wonder of His perfect timing in our lives.
Megan Sinisi absolutely adores a good cup of coffee, chocolate, and sitting with people to share life stories. She is a native to Las Vegas, born and raised, and has four beautiful children with her handsome husband, Vincenzo. She is a counselor, specializing in the field of addictions, with multiple certifications, both in Nevada and nationally. She directed Nevada’s largest treatment court and has been building her private practice since 2014, acquiring contracts with the City of Las Vegas, City of Henderson, Clark County Special Defender’s Office, and Zappos.com. It is because of her own journey of healing and through her career that she has learned the wounds we have can begin to be healed as we share our stories. She considers it an honor when someone shares their story with her, and hopes that as she shares her stories of victory and healing that others can be inspired, encouraged, and challenged. Megan has a love and fervor for writing and is walking in faith that God is calling her to use that passion and gift for His glory. She is someone who is known for her honesty and transparency that brings light to difficult situations and feelings, and offers hope and encouragement for the journey of life. It is her hope that by sharing her journey, it encourages, challenges, inspires, comforts, and most importantly, shines the light of Jesus and the reality of His love, grace, and mercy. You can find more from Megan at www.meganjsinisi.com And @meganjsinisi on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.