It turns out that the story of Lazarus is indeed a powerful story of Jesus deliberately making people wait, long past their comfort zone, so that God would be glorified in and through their lives. They were looking for a healing, but Jesus was planning a resurrection! In the same way those of us who have waited long can trust that the Lord is about to do something amazing in our lives too...a resurrection if you will!
I realized that at the heart of all of this longing is a desire that we all have inside us, the desire to be truly seen by another person. Not a casual glance, not a once over, but seen for who we truly are, and in that sight known and loved. It is not the being alone that hurts but it is the being unseen, unknown, feeling like your life is without meaning or worth.
A wonderful book written in the 1990s called Metaphors We Live By speaks about how so much of how we understand the world is conveyed through the metaphors (or expressions) that we use to describe our lives. One common metaphor is talking about love as war, for example 'Love is a battlefield' or 'All's fair in love and war'. But further to just being descriptors of people or circumstances these very metaphors actually have the power to shape our lives, for better or for worse. What metaphors are you using today and how do they match up with the metaphors we find in the Bible?
Christmas, as the song puts it, is supposed to be the ‘most wonderful time of the year’ but for many people, myself included, it can be actually one of the loneliest, depressing and most angst-ridden time of the year. The growing gap between our reality and our expectations for Christmas is fueled by saccharine sweet Hallmark cards, endless happy family holiday movies and highly curated social media feeds of family bliss in the festive season. It all just looks so wonderful, so perfect but so far from the reality that we are experiencing.
So I am not sure about how you would feel, but when I received the 'uplifting' news at 25 (see previous post) that maybe I had been given the (unwanted) gift of singleness I was pretty upset. I couldn't understand why God would give me something that I did not want at all and I wondered how God decided which people he 'called' to be married and which he 'called' to be single (whether they wanted it or not). It is interesting to ponder the point that nobody ever called marriage the unwanted gift...
What do you think of when you hear the word hope? Does it speak of promises yet to be fulfilled, of a long wait, of a seemingly impossible dream? Does the word hope fill you with dread or with expectation? For me, the word hope is often accompanied by a slight feeling of anxiety; I hope this will work out, I hope my colleague isn’t angry with me, I hope I make the flight, I hope he will get in touch. Hope relates to what is not or at least not yet and as such it is a word that is both potentially full of promise and yet can be also full of fear.