DayBreaks for 11/05/14 – Where God Resurrects Dead Things
From the DayBreaks archive, 2004:
Once again, confession time. But first, a caveat: I’m going to tell you about something I’ve not done for a long, long time. Are you ready? I used to read Stephen King’s books. I was a fan of his writing. I loved the suspense and strange twists that he’d bring into play. I also loved the cartoon strip, “The Far Side” and “Calvin and Hobbs”, and I still love “Dilbert”. They are all a bit off the wall, and helped to take me to unexpected places – some of which were healthier than others. But one of my all-time favorite Stephen King books was “Pet Sematary” (yes, that’s how it was spelled). It was about a strange place out in a twisted wood behind a farm where dead things would come back to life once they were buried there – in a little pet cemetery. I very seldom read any book more than once – but I did that one. Of course, in true Stephen King style, the pets that came back weren’t quite like they had been previously – they were changed, and not for the better. I won’t tell you the rest of the story…let your imagination work on it, if you wish.
But the concept was intriguing. As many of you know, it’s been just over 10 months since my dog, Ramses, died. How I wish that there were a real pet cemetery where we could have taken him and gotten him back in a few hours – breathing, twisting, wagging and playing as he had before. But I don’t know of a pet cemetery like that. Just last night as I was on a retreat, I told a fellow pastor about my father’s passing over 6 years ago – and I cried. I miss him.
It is interesting that many times in scripture, we find things that were dead coming back to life. It may have been hope that died, faith that died, trust that died, or it may have been someone that died. Several times in the Bible, when something dies and it is going to be brought back to life, a cave is involved. Elijah, after his trust and faith died, ran to the cave on Mt. Horeb where his hope was reborn. David, running from Saul in fear, feeling like a failure after having been anointed, only to be chased for years by Saul who still sat on the throne, spent years in a cave regaining his hope and having God grow his trust. Lazarus went into the cave. Jesus went into the cave. But none of them stayed there. Why? Because caves are the place where God resurrects dead things.
Not every cave is made out of rock. Some are made out of the shambles of our hollowed out spirits, marriages, families and collapsed dreams. Some are made of the demons of guilt, shame or abuse. Sometimes it seems as if the entry to the cave through which we entered has been sealed off by all the debris of our lives, and that we will die – alone and cold – in the hard, rocky darkness. But then something happens. A voice from the other side of the cave or the other side of the collapsed tangle of trees and rush calls out to us, “Galen! Come forth!” And that which was dead breathes again by the grace and miraculous power of God.
Life can, and is, a very, very long, hard, cold cave. I know people who have lived in a cave of some kind of suffering and despair virtually every minute of their lives. I don’t know how they do it. But I do know that God spoke to Elijah in a cave, He led David out of the cave to the throne of Israel, He called Lazarus out of the clammy darkness, and He brought Jesus forth gloriously – never to die again.
If you’re in a cave right now, rejoice. You’re about to see and hear God speak life into you again. And you’re in VERY good company.
John 11:38-44 – Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. “Take away the stone,” he said. “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.” Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out!’”
PRAYER: I am so grateful that you are a God who does amazing, impossible things – even in the darkest of times in our lives! Glory to You now and forever! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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