The death and resurrection of Lazarus (John 11) has long been a difficult story for me. In the past, I’ve struggled with Christ’s knowledge of the coming of Lazarus’ death without instantaneous action (This just goes to show you how I’d like God working on my quick, efficient time clock, haha). However, I find it’s good to revisit difficult Scripture to see what new gleanings appear. As I read it recently, the themes of light/dark, daytime/nighttime, sickness/health, and death/life surfaced for me. When I consider these categories for my life, I know which I want to be in: I want to be full of light, walking in the daytime, healthy and alive! But, the fact is, sprinkled among life is darkness, nighttime, sickness and death. Each is unavoidable. Darkness descends as heavy burdens we cling to in our lives, uncontrollable circumstances, and the unhealthy choices that effect our well-being. Nighttime slips in regularly as low energy, bits of gossip and gloomy news hoping to steal our attention from surrounding joy. Death, maybe that which we fear most, arises as the seasons of our life change. Death means we must say goodbye to one way of living and wait in strenuous grief until something new arises.
For some time, I separated Christ from darkness, nighttime, sickness and death. Afterall, if God is all light (1 John 1:5), how could God accept the darkness? But, over time, this belief has changed. Nowadays, I’m more likely to think that Christ is Healer to the jet-black spaces in our lives. I envision God, Christ and Spirit holding hands in a circle embracing all, weaving their light through the dimmest of circumstances, desiring us to see their sparkle in our midst. They, restorers of brokenness, are working to bring wholeness back to the world. This is good news. But, there is better news: Since each of us has the Spirit of God dwelling in us, our job isn’t to deny the darkness, but rather to play a part in the restoration. Instead of being helpless to our situation, we can choose, like Martha and Mary, to call on Christ. We can turn to the Repairer of Broken Walls (Isaiah 58:12) and say, “The one you love is sick.” And, if we still our souls, we may hear a whisper back, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.” (John 11:25)
2 Corinthians 4:7-11
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body.”
About the Artwork:
This watercolor was done based on the themes written of above. The yellow is is for light and life, shimmering in even the dimmest of situations. The red represents the sacrifice of Christ. The purple symbolizes darkness, but also the royalty of Christ being in the midst. This artwork is meant to be turned different ways to find the way that speaks to you.
These writings have influenced this week’s work:
Wondrous Encounters: Scripture For Lent by Richard Rohr
Monk in the World, Guest Post by Jessica Curtis
A wonderful children’s book about dark and light is
The Dark by Lemony Snickett and Jon Klassen
Sent from my iPad
What an excellent reminder! We can’t put God in a box; he is ever present, even in the hard, dark, scary times. Thank you for sharing!!
So very true Sarah: God cannot be contained! I love this thought. Thanks for your encouraging words.
This was a beautiful writing. The painting was wonderful! God is always there for us & that is very comforting.
Thank you for this, dear and thoughtful Ally – you inspire me so!