stoneMy students and I are studying the story of the raising of Lazarus in John 11. As part of that story we stopped for a moment to observe one of the strong spiritual lessons associated with the event. Jesus had reached the tomb of Lazarus accompanied by the cries of the family as they reflect on the finality of death.  Mary and Martha respond to Jesus with a questioning spirit as to why he had waited so long. According to Jewish legends, the spirit of the deceased remained near a body for three days waiting the possibility of return. The fourth day represented the point of no return because according to their legends, the spirit moves on at this point. Jesus had arrived at that supposed point of no return. Hope had faded and the finality of the situation had set in.

When Jesus asks for the stone to be removed, opposition from Martha ensues. She replies that there will be a bad odor and Jesus reminds her of the need to believe. The stone is rolled away and the miracle of resurrection takes place. What exactly does that stone represent?

The stones of doubt are those things in life which cause us to feel that all hope is gone and that we have reached a point of no return. They are the doubts that creep in when we feel that God is not there and that situations have overtaken us. While the stone remains, the miracle is stifled. The doubt in our life keeps us from seeing the possibilities that exist with God.

We are what often stands in the way of God accomplishing something great in our life. We place these stones of doubt between us and God creating a barrier to his blessings. The channel of blessing has been cut off. It is not God who is in the way preventing it from flowing, it is we who have created that barrier.

There is also another type of stone. These are called memorial stones and mark the path where God has intervened in a  powerful way. They serve as reminders of the faithfulness of God and of the love he has for his children. We set these memorial stones up in our life to remind us of times in the past where God has answered our prayers and to offer hope for the future. The Israelites would set up these remembrance altars as points of reference for future generations to show that God is good and he will provide.

Which kind of stones reflects your life the most?memorial stone1

 

“Take away the stone…Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” John 11:38-40

4 Comments »

  1. This sounds familiar. I have written memorial stones over the many years of suffering I endured. I used to write as a form of therapy. I used to dream of days when I would be set free. When God shed light on my situation in 2004 I made a move that would begin to set me free from bondage. Ever since that step of faith, scared to death of what I may not become, God began to show me what I could become in His power and His alone. He began to remove strong doubt I had within myself that I could ever be strong, survive on my own, or make it in this harsh world. Once I began Bible Study Fellowship in 2006, He began to reveal Himself to me. I began to meet a God I had never truly known. Nothing else I did to make myself whole again felt satisfying until I met God, face to face. He showed me how to live life abundantly, and that my idea of what life should be had not truly been born. I began to find my identity in Christ. Who I thought I was was no longer. There were days where I did not recognize myself. I began to transform. It was uncanny, as if I could step outside my own body, and see my new body being created into something great. As I began to speak of realizations in my life to friends, they started to notice the changes, too. I am amazed at the changes that are still taking place, and the new levels of strength and endurance that seem to suddenly appear out of nowhere. But I know they don’t come from no where. They come from God. I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me. As I endure the new things He has for me to do, He opens my eyes a little more to the empowerment that only He provides. I feel as though I am in a cocoon, and I am struggling to come out, and live my life as a great big beautiful butterfly. But He says it is not quite time yet. Press on a little while longer, and wait to be refined and fine tuned just a little more. I know I will not be that butterfly until I arrive to my mansion He has waiting for me, but I wait patiently to see what He is creating me to be. It brings me to tears to think of my old stones of doubt. How painful it was back then. The tears are joyous tears because I no longer am in bondage. I am much farther along than I ever imagined I’d be. When I decided to do it God’s way, He brought me so much farther than my vision could hold. The streets didn’t go that far in my own vision. I was holding my self back. I’d dream big and then was afraid of it. I’d talk myself out of it before I ever left to do anything about it. I never moved in my own power. I can’t put into words what God’s power is like. All I can say is I am amazed at God’s amazing love, who loved me as I was, and loved me so much that He could not leave me that way. Thank God He loved me so. The only way to repay Him is to give Him back the life He so graciously gave to me. If He asks me to go, I will go.

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