“And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you”(Romans 8:11). Jesus’ disciples must have been shocked when they arrived in Judea and found that Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days. Jesus had told them that Lazarus’ sickness would not end in death. Lazarus’ sister, Martha, was similarly disappointed. She was certain that, if Jesus had come sooner, her brother would not have died. We cannot blame the disciples and Martha for thinking that Lazarus’ death was the end of the story. In all of their experience, that was the way the world worked. God, however, had something greater planned. Yes, Lazarus died, but that was not the end! The story ended with a resurrection! This was the reason that Jesus had deliberately remained where He was for two days after He heard the news that Lazarus was sick: “…for God’s glory, so that God’s Son may be glorified through it” (John 11:4). There were many ways in which Lazarus could have been healed, but his resurrection could only have been accomplished by God’s sovereign power. Lazarus’ resurrection was a testimony, to everyone who knew him, of the glory of the Son of God. When we pray, we can tend to view a delayed response from God as an indication that He does not care or is not going to intervene. Then, if the dream that we are praying about dies, we can view its death as an indication that God has said no. However, we must never forget that prayer is a conversation, and, when we pray, we must pray with the expectation of hearing from God. Once God has spoken, we need to hold on to what He tells us, not letting go even when the story appears to end differently than the way He promised it would. All around us, there are individuals, families, churches and communities that need to experience the resurrecting power of the Spirit of God. Their stories must not end in death! Let’s keep persevering until the final chapter! Let’s make 2022 a year of resurrection! (You can read the complete account of Lazarus’ resurrection in John 11:1–44).
Otis A. Fortenberry