Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” John 11:43b-44 NIV
I relate very deeply with the story of Lazarus. He was described as someone Jesus loved (John 11:3, 5), but Jesus waited until Lazarus was truly dead from his illness before coming to restore him. In God’s timing, and to His glory, we are given to Christ as His own. I would love to meet each of you and know your story of illness, death, and resurrection. I love to celebrate through all of the emotions every testimony of God’s goodness, power, and love delivers.
My own illness seemed to come on so gradually. It began when I was just a child though. I believed in God, I believed in Jesus, and I believed He died for us, but I was an outsider. I saw and experienced things that ripped me from the church and left me bitter, without trust, and fearful. I read through the Bible a few times on my own and gathered facts, but those facts were lifeless for me. I grew listless and apathetic with malnourishment. I grew violently ill as a young adult, but I did eventually rally out of it – I quit drinking, fell in love, married, and settled down. My illness returned in the form of depression and anger after my babies were born, however. I was chronically ill and being drawn deep into darkness and death, until one day I realized I was dead. I had a clear plan for carrying out my suicide.
Jesus called out, “Lorinda, come out!” The dead woman came out, her hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen and a cloth around her face.
I fell to my knees right away. I remember weeping a lot during those first years as bitter memories clung to me and threatened to bind my hands and feet from fully following and serving my LORD, but I was alive for the first time. I now hungered and thirsted for God and for understanding, and He fed me in His Word. I entered a church despite my fears, and I felt Jesus tell members of His body to, “Take off the grave clothes and let [me] go.”
I was set free!
Jesus died and rose from the grave himself. He lives, and He continues to call the dead to rise and live in Him. He has promised: All whom My Father gives (entrusts) to Me will come to Me; and the one who comes to Me I will most certainly not cast out [I will never, no never, reject one of them who comes to me]. John 6:37 AMP
I pray Psalm 56:12-13 NIV: I am under vows to You, my God; I will present my thank offerings to You. For You have delivered me from death and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of life. LORD, I pray those who are still dead, maybe someone reading this now, will know they are dead and hear your sweet voice call to them loudly, “Dear one, come out!” Amen.