I was thinking today about the untimely death of Lazarus.
His body, separated from his soul, was buried. His sisters, bereaved. His memory, cherished.
All the life, all the potential energy, all the productivity in him, extinguished. What was, wasn’t anymore. What could have been, then only could be longed for.
Bandages bound the body and a tomb surrounded it. Then, agony.
But I was also thinking today about what his sisters didn’t know. They didn’t know what Jesus was going to do.
He showed up four days after the burial. Lazarus’s sister Mary collapsed.
“Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died,” she said.
In death’s wake she fell helpless at his feet. She had no control, no authority to undo what had been done.
This is grief. It is soul-deep pain. A pain a person carries. When Jesus saw her weep, he was deeply moved. He wept, too.
Last time I wrote about Lazarus, I said that Jesus, who was friends with him, could have healed him. He possessed the power to prevent a death that caused a lot of people pain. But he didn’t.
I was thinking today, too, about what he didn’t prevent for me. About how his decision not to intervene is itself an intervention.
It is the cross, for the sake of the resurrection.
When Jesus called Mary’s brother out of the tomb, she learned what I am learning: that when what was, isn’t and when we can only long for what could have been, it’s just a tomb.
Tombs do exactly what we need them to. They give significance to what’s coming. And I am convinced that what’s coming will blow my mind.
That the glory we will see makes the pain worth enduring.
That finality from our perspective is fertility from his.
And I can’t wait to see what he’s creating.