Monday, September 12, 2011

Where is the HOPE? Part 3

This morning I've been pondering how different this week began than last week.
Last week it was grey and rainy- this week is absolutely beautiful!
Last week I felt like I was trying hard to take a step forward, this week I'm walking with purpose & ease.
Last week I was still grappling with the question, "Where is the HOPE?"
This week, I not only see hope- I feel it!  What a difference that makes?

In pondering how I got to such a 'dark place' once again after seeing such light in my own story the past few months, several things came to mind.

One was that I used to LIVE in this dark place.  It used to feel like it took everything in me to see a glimmer of hope or breath of life.  I don't LIVE there anymore!  I only visited for a time- partly because it still really hurts that Leisha is gone, that life is different than I dreamed it would be.  To deny those aches and tears would be lying about how it is sometimes.  But not always!  It felt extra dark, I think, because I haven't been familiar with that place for a while.  I was seeing it now in stark contrast to the life I had recently become aware of again.  I found myself coming out of that place- that 'funk' with deep gratitude that I do see life, I do feel hope!

 Another thing that impacted my thoughts last week was a chapel message Ren had shared with me from a professor at Dallas Seminary.  The message was called "DEEPEST NEED, HIGHEST HOPE!" The irony of this message was that the text for it was from John 11.  The Lord has used this same story of Lazarus' death and resurrection to make me think about what it looks like to 'be dead' and then feel life again.  I felt as though I had been the one resurrected.  This passage reminded me that I feel LIFE again.  That was the first week of June. It was so powerful that I shared it in a the message at our church the last weekend of June.
(I thought I had written about it in my blog, but I looked back and realized that I had not.  If you'd like to listen to that message go to my website ( and look for it under the speaking tab.  Or you can go to
Anyway, back to "DEEPEST NEED, HIGHEST HOPE!" (by the way, if you want to listen to it, go to ).

Dr Jones reminds us that our deepest need and highest hope is all tied up in the words of John 11:35, "Jesus wept!"  I want to include some of my notes here- 1. so I'll remember.  2. so maybe they will encourage you!
There is so much more that he shared that is worth considering.  The key thing to notice is that our deepest need is directly connected with our highest hope!

 Take a moment to read from the beginning of the chapter. But in answer to my question, "where is the hope?", I want to pick it up in verse 33.
When Jesus saw her (Mary) weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.

 'deeply moved in spirit'.  this word is commonly used to refer to a horse snorting.
When applied to human being it usually denotes anger, outrage, emotional indignation

Jesus looks at this situation- and looks through this funeral, sees the funeral of everyone who has ever died. It is his response to the reality of death. "This is not how It's supposed to be- I didn't create people for this."  Seeing these people that he loves is indignant to the the way it was supposed to be.

Jesus wept! (vs 35)

This is the reason Dr Jones believe this story is true- because JOHN would not say it otherwise.  Weeping would be beneath a deity.  John's whole purpose for writing the book of John is to tell us about THE WORD- Jesus is God, who became flesh and dwelt among us- took on our full humanity. moved into the neighborhood.

Quote from NT WRIGHT says "The WORD, through whom the worlds were made, weeps like a baby at the grave of his friend.  Only when we stop and ponder this will we understand the full mystery of John's Gospel, only when we put away the high and dry pics of who God is and replace them with pictures in which the Word of God can cry what the world's crying will we discover what the word God really means.

The philosopher, Alvin Plantiv(?) says, the chief difference  between Christianity and every other theistic religion is that the God of Christianity does not stand idly by coolly observing  the  suffering of his creatures. The God of Christianity  has entered into their suffering,  taken upon himself a suffering far greater than they could possibly imagine in order to redeem them and give them a hope beyond it.

Our deepest need & highest hope is for a God 
          who sympathizes with us in our pain,
          who is capable of weeping 
          who has entered into our pain, our brokenness, our suffering

Our deepest need and highest hope is for a God
          who has tear ducts,
         who has taken on flesh and dwelt among us.

Our deepest need and highest hope is for a God
          who will take our sin, our brokenness and take it to the cross.

You know how the story plays out.  If you remember, when Jesus does what he does, there are some who go to the Jewish authorities and tell them about it.   They call together a meeting and from this point on they plot together to take his life.  I think Jesus knew that - he  knew that if he walked up to the tomb and called Lazarus out of his tomb, he was sealing the deal of walking into his own tomb; death is whispering in his ear- "you mess with me, I'll mess w you.  You bring him out- I'll take you in." 
Jesus becomes the champion of the cause of Lazaruas- of us all

LAZARUS come out

He starts the road to his own death. This is the spark that lights the fuse that takes us into holy week.

What does this mean for us? That our deepest need & highest hope is for a God
             who weeps
            who becomes our champion of our brokeness, our pain, our sin, our death

V 34 Where have you laid him?  he asked.
They don't know what he can do but they say to him, "Come and SEE, Lord"

The invitation for all of us who have pain, fear,  sin in our own lives, brokenness,  in our own lives,
 is to come before the ONE who champions our cause and just bring it before him.

Come and see- and be the champion of our cause.

Our deepest Need and Highest hope is for a God  and is the victor.

WOW! Our DEEPEST NEED and our HIGHEST HOPE is for a God who weeps!
Ah Lord, thank you that you enter into our pain, take on flesh and dwell among us, champion our cause and are victorious!

My only HOPE is YOU!

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