Remember back at Christmastime when we in the sunny south had a quick-onset, out-of-the-ordinary (for us) cold snap? All of our outdoor plants, trees, and grass looked like they were gonners! Leaves on bushes and trees turned brown, then black, or straight up fell off their branches. Grass that had been green before the cold turned a weird yellowish-brown shade and looked pretty hopeless. Experts said, “we’ll just have to wait and see if they are dead.” Well after doing a happy perusal of my springing-into-spring yard today, theeeeeey’rrreee baaaaackkkk!!! Yessirreee! My tea olive bushes are laughing in my face at my doubting them. My forsythia and redbuds are boasting their brilliant yellow and lilac. My oriental maple has beautiful leaves, buds, and flowers pushing their way past December’s black, burned leaves! I could swear the flowers in my yard are even more prolific than last year!! They are actually budding earlier than normal, even in the face of the groundhog seeing his shadow back on the second of February. Those six more weeks of winter the rodent predicted have also slinked off into oblivion. I imagine the gardeners for The Masters golf tournament were sweating at the cold snap wondering if their beloved bushes would die. Now they may be wondering if holes 12 and 13 will have any of their iconic Golden Bell and azalea blooms left by the time the tournament rolls around the second weekend in April.
Isn’t that just like God?! Don’t write off what He can do! “What is impossible for man, is possible with God.” Luke 18:27 Now plants coming back to life is impressive, but Jesus did it with PEOPLE! His friend Lazarus died. If they were honest with themselves, Laz’s sisters were probably a little miffed with Jesus. They sent for Him before their brother died, and Jesus took his time coming. One point for Martha and Mary though, they knew Jesus could heal Laz’s sickness, but our human brains tend to think of death as kind of final. It was this way with the sisters. Lazarus died. They were crushed. Physical death is when hope dies, too. We think whatever is possible prior to that final moment becomes impossible. But can I get a hallelujah and an amen that EVEN DEATH is not the end for our Jesus!! He told Lazarus to “get up out of that grave!” and HE DID. Just like He had told a little girl to get up from her dead state (Luke 8:40-56) AND SHE DID. He also livened up a guy being carried in a casket to his own burial! (Luke 7:11-17) Jesus turned mourning into laughter and faith – faith that He was who He said He was. For Jesus’s grand finale, though, He brought HIMSELF back to life! After dying a brutal death and being in a boulder-sealed, soldier-guarded tomb for three days, HE ROSE FROM THE DEAD!! (All caps absolutely necessary here!) Ta-dah!!
So what is the takeaway? Well, my beautifully blooming yard is a reminder to me that what man cannot do, God can. What I deem hopeless is not even a challenge for my Lord. When I doubt that something, or someone, can be saved, God laughs! The buck stops with Him and not before. When He says “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End” (Revelation 22:13), He gets to say when there is no more hope. Romans 15:13 says “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace and you trust in Him, that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Jesus has proven that earthly limitations don’t hold Him. He gives us reminders of that to encourage us, but we must use spiritual sight to see it. If you cannot see hope in the situation you are in, ask Him to show you. He is faithful. He will do it. If you can see hope even when it is hard, REJOICE and share this hope! He truly can bring the dead to life.