Mine was not an optimistic faith. That came later. Mine was despairing loyalty. So, when he said he was going back to Judea where people were waiting ... conspiring ... actively seeking to kill him, I said, “let’s go.”
No one could change his mind once it was made up. He had such determination and strength of will. It was his Father’s will I came to understand. Not just his own.
So, he said, “we’re going back to awaken Lazarus,” and I had no earthly idea what he meant. That’s because it wasn't an earthly idea, but a heavenly mission he was on - every day of his life.
Let us go and die with him, I told our friends. Little did I know what that would mean that something inside me would have to die with him to live - my doubt and despair, my lostness and sin.
And only he could make it happen.
When he called Lazarus out that day, we caught a glimpse of what it might be like.
As we walked alongside him later as he entered Jerusalem, the people waved palm branches shouting, “Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord.” Something inside me wanted to soar, but something else held back - impending doom ... despair.
He died. He died gruesomely and indignantly. No one should have to die like that.
He did not have to --- I came to understand that. He laid his life willingly down. For us.
We saw Lazarus rise, but I could not believe in his resurrection still - till I saw him. I wish I could have believed sooner. I wish I had not come to be known as the doubter. I know now that death is not the last word on anything.
I looked into his eyes after he had risen and knew the meaning of life and I cried, “My Lord and my God.