I’m ready to sing a new song. How about you?
In a few weeks Perfection Road will be repaved with a fresh new look. I couldn’t help but compare the need for a new website to our hearts’ need for a new song.
For 10 years, my old website became overloaded with more and more information. It caught a few viruses, became infiltrated by more than a few bugs, and suffered way too many bytes. The more it tried to sweep away the infections on its own, the more confused it became until it finally suffered a massive stroke several weeks ago.
Likewise, 2020 has made us feel like we’re living in an old country music song. Gloom, despair, and agony infiltrate the news with deep dark depression and excessive misery. If it weren’t for bad luck we’d have no luck at all. Thank goodness we don’t have to solve the whole world’s problems on our own, and we surely don’t have to depend on luck!
Waiting for relief is hard though, isn’t it? Have you ever wondered why Jesus waited four long days after Lazarus’ death to go to Bethany and bring him back to life? Some scholars point to a quote from the old rabbi Ben Kaphra who believed the spirit of the dead hovered around the body for three days in hopes of returning to the body. Four days would surely be long enough to convince anyone of Lazarus’ death.
After arriving in Bethany and seeing the grief of Lazarus’ sisters, Jesus wept. Couldn’t He have prevented Lazarus from dying in the first place? Why put Martha and Mary through the misery of losing their brother if He was going to bring him back to life? Why put Lazarus through sickness and death?
Why put us through 2020? Doesn’t God love us? Doesn’t He see the sickness, despair, and deep dark depression of many? God, if you’re going to send Jesus, why not send Him now?
After all the miracles Jesus performed, bringing Lazarus back to life was more than the Pharisees could handle. Lazarus had become the poster child for the “Jesus Really is the Son of God” campaign. In so doing, every ounce of suffering and grief caused by Satan became catalysts for the power, honor, and glory belonging to Jesus.
Can our suffering and grief do the same?
Can we let a rough year motivate us to make some changes that could put God’s power on display?
I can’t imagine there being many among us who haven’t done at least a bit of soul searching over the last seven months. Priorities have shifted. Values have changed. Self-sufficiency has dwindled. Of all the things we’ve learned, one thing rings loud and clear: We are not in charge! Some things in our lives need to pass away, but so many other good things we’ve allowed Satan to bury need to be resurrected.
Jesus did show up for Martha, Mary, and Lazarus. “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9) His hesitation was for the greater good.
Can you imagine the celebration around Simon the leper’s table in John 12? Loud laughter, slaps on the back, and the retelling of the story of Lazarus’ resurrection from everyone’s point of view made it a jubilant celebration. Every family member hearing that story told another family who told another family who told another family. As more and more people believed that Jesus really was who He claimed to be, God was glorified.
God is using this year to lift you out of a pit, not put you in one. He wants to reveal His light to you, not put you in the darkness. Whether you know it or not, and no matter who you are, He’s trying to put a new song in your mouth, a hymn of praise so that many will see and hear and put their trust in Him. (Ps.40) He will use this year for the greater good.
Let God turn the year Satan intended for our defeat into one of powerful resurrection! Then, with one united voice, we can sing a brand-new song and inspire others to sing along!