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We cannot live without hope. Hope is like the air we breathe. It fills our lungs and fuels our dreams. Learning to hope again is like learning to breathe again.
Winters are Long in Wyoming. We have some wood vine that was trying to bud in February. But, then another freeze, some snow, and a lot of wind returned. It was too soon to bud. But, I’m confident that it will try again as soon as the seasons change.
Life comes at you in seasons, not just days, but weeks, months, years, decades, and so on. There are springs, summers, falls, and winters. Seasons of birth, growth, decline, and death, but death isn’t death for everything. Many things just rest. They go dormant. They wait. But the season will change, and the waiting will become living again.
What if We Could Learn to Breathe? What if we could stop allowing the seasons to insult us and harm us?
Jesus Intentionally Entered a Lot of Hopeless Situations. The well-known story of Lazarus is one of those occasions. Let’s learn from it. In fact, let’s learn to breathe again, from a guy who forgot how, and then Jesus helped him remember.
John 11:3 (NET) So the sisters sent a message to Jesus, “Lord, look, the one you love is sick.”
Learn that you are loved
Yes, I Know God Loves You, Too. We’ve wrestled with this enough by now, that you may be thinking, “I know, I know. I know that God sent His Son to demonstrate what life could be and what a relationship with God could be. I know that God’s son, Jesus died in my place, on my behalf, and FOR ME. And, I know that God is Love and we are His DEAR children. I get it!” No, you don’t.
“Jesus, the one you love is sick.” We have very little information in the Bible about Lazarus. We know he was Mary and Martha’s brother. Most of what we do know comes from this passage. BUT, do you know one thing you find out, “quick, fast, and in a hurry”? Lazarus was someone that Jesus really loved.
But, there is More. Hello, My name is ________ (your name). I’m the one that Jesus loves. Who is the one that Jesus loves? “I AM!” You see, this is how we learn to live like Jesus; we begin with some “I AM” statements.
John 11:4 (NLT) But when Jesus heard about it he said, “Lazarus’s sickness will not end in death. No, it happened for the glory of God so that the Son of God will receive glory from this.”
Learn That Jesus Is Up To Something In Your Life
Your Nasty Now and Now is Just a Plot Line, not the final chapter. Lazarus did, in fact, die. I think that is important to note. God has a way of answering prayers AFTER all hope is lost and AFTER it’s too late. Lazarus was dead but Jesus said it wouldn’t end that way. Jesus was dead, but He said it didn’t end that way. We cannot confuse the middle of the story with the end.
There is a Final Chapter Coming. One where we are all champions. One where we are all victors.
John 11:8 (NLT) But his disciples objected. “Rabbi,” they said, “only a few days ago the people in Judea were trying to stone you. Are you going there again?”
Learn That No Obstacles Are Too Much For Jesus
He isn’t Frightened by what Frightens You. You could write down everything that is terrifying you right now – the economy, politics, wars, marriage, kids, bosses, jobs, etc. Jesus isn’t scared. Jesus will walk through the middle of all that, to get to you. He will walk with you through THIS. He will deliver you from THIS. There is nothing to fear. Yes, there may be much to suffer, but nothing to fear. Why? Because Jesus frightens the things that frighten you.
John 11:25-26 (NLT) Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. 26 Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?”
Learn That Jesus Is Your Life.
Don’t get Confused. Your health, wealth, and friends are part of your life, but Jesus IS your life. Colossians 3 has something to say about it. You must remember this: That heart beating in your chest beats at the hand and by the strength of Jesus who sustains all things (Colossians 1).
You are Invincible until Your Appointment with God. Do you know when I will die? On time! We have an appointment, one that we will not miss, and we won’t get there early either. We’ll be right on time, and Jesus promised to meet us at the door.
John 11:43 (NLT) Then Jesus shouted, “Lazarus, come out!”
Learn To Hear Your Name
There is a Resurrection with Your Name on it. Just imagine the sound of your name on Jesus’ lips. You will awaken like Adam from his mound of clay. You will one day awaken with God’s breath filling you. Empowering you. You will one day hear a trumpet that wakes the dead, because God loves you and calls you by name. If that is, you call on His name. The name of Jesus, the name above all others.
John 11:44 (NLT) And the dead man came out, his hands and feet bound in graveclothes, his face wrapped in a head cloth. Jesus told them, “Unwrap him and let him go!”
Learn To Work Together
There are a lot of ways to Unwrap a Dead Person. I suppose you could push them down and roll them down a hill, Maybe not. Maybe that’s what we try sometimes. Setting each other free is the work of the church. That’s what Jesus’ church is all about binding and losing, fighting for others, and freeing them. There are no lone rangers. You can’t just decide, “No, I got this. I can handle it.” It’s “We can”, not, “You can.” The old saying is, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others.” This is a distance race, not a speed race. Together is the way to go.
Can You Learn To Hope Again?
Maybe things aren’t falling apart. Maybe they are falling into place. There is a road before us. It will be very difficult in places. If you spend that journey hoping for easier paths and greener pastures, you will get discouraged. You will want to quit, and you may quit. BUT, if you learn to breathe. If you learn to enjoy the meadows. If you take time to befriend the stragglers on the path. If you remember, this road is going somewhere, somewhere glorious, you will be learning to inhale, and will propel yourself to higher places and more certain paths.