WEEK 4: MARCH 20-26
Raised for Hope
Jesus seems to have arrived too late to help his friend Lazarus and the despair of the witnesses is palpable in this story from the Gospel of John. In a state of hopelessness, Jesus brings the hope of Resurrection, the hope of eternal life, of that which can never be taken away. How does the hope of Resurrection encourage you? This week hear from some of our members who have found hope that surpasses illness, difficult circumstances, and hope that drastically changes who we are as Christians.
You Do Not Understand, But Someday You Will
By Sydney Redpath – Student
Read John 11:17-27.
Have you ever felt like you don’t know what’s going on anymore? Like you don’t care about anything anymore? You’ve lost your motivations to do anything. You are confused about your feelings and you can’t explain how you feel. You have that feeling of emptiness, and the feeling that no one is there for you. That feeling that no one understands you anymore. And it seems like there’s nothing to look forward to anymore.
And I thoroughly believe that we feel it one way or another at least once in our lives.
When I was twelve, I learned that you don’t need water to feel like you’re drowning, and I learned how to run from what I felt. I became a master of denial and disassociation. Sad songs weren’t sad enough. I was so sad and I never understood why. I knew pain was never permanent, but when it hit, it felt like it was killing me. And the longer I fought that feeling, the more I asked “how long do I have to keep fighting until it’s considered okay to want to give up?” And it took a very long time to understand that it’s not normal to be okay with giving up and not existing anymore.
When I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder, November 2016, I remember feeling like a total mutant. I spent a week in a hospital practically catatonic, and plagued with self-destructive thoughts. I think the worst part was that I still loved Jesus. I know, that sounds crazy right? A girl who was so damaged and was too exhausted to fight her suicidal thoughts still longed for the King who represented everlasting life. However, that didn’t stop the anger and frustration from building.
I remember being so frustrated towards God, asking why He allowed me to feel the way I feel. Why a God who was full of love and joy and goodness would stand by while I felt hopeless. I felt my relationship with God rift with the consistency of those thoughts. It eventually molded into an “I don’t deserve God” mentality that inevitably made the entire situation ten-times worse.
I’d like to think that is what Mary felt when Jesus arrived after Lazarus passed; frustrated. And I’d like to think we all have that feeling from time to time.
I didn’t have my “you don’t have to wait for the End” moment until January 2017. Unprecedented and totally spontaneous, I picked up my Bible and flipped to Job 5:
“Behold, blessed is the one whom God reproves; therefore despise not the discipline of the Almighty. For he wounds, but he binds up. He shatters, but His hands heal.”
And what a concept that is. That God wounds and shatters – that He allows us to be wounded and shattered. It can drive people bonkers. Though, I’d like to believe that God breaks us so the light can shine through. So that the greatness He presents solidifies our faith in Him. Yes, we stumble and collapse and struggle and break, but we also heal and grow and shine and blossom.
It can be easy to blame God for our downfalls, but it is essential to our spiritual growth to understand that He restores our souls. To fight for that ‘someday’ when Jesus said, “you don’t understand what I’m doing now, but someday you will.”
“Christ will seek the ends of the earth for the one sheep that has gone astray. He will fight the darkness to find His beloved, but when He holds us in His arms and we do not show any sign of life, then it is the heart of a King that is broken and all of creation will moan in the loss of another soul that was meant to dance in the courts of Heaven. Take your doubts to Christ, let this fire grow inside you and become aware that He is wanting a heart that beats and seeks knowledge, He wants a mind that thinks and learns wisdom, and He wants a soul that cries out for help when it seems impossible to find. Because He broke down the gates of hell to rescue His bride, He is coming with a righteous fire in His soul and a joy that will wipe away every tear from your eyes; you just have to be willing and ready.” – T.B. LaBerge
We can get so overwhelmed by our difficult circumstances that it is not until later that we understand God was working in the difficulty around us.
Spend time in prayer today considering a time when God was working something together for your good and it was not until later that it became clear what was happening: