By Shelby Hawks
Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the dead man’s sister, said to him, “Lord, by now there will be a stench; he has been dead for four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believe you will see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. And Jesus raised his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you for hearing me. I know that you always hear me; but because of the crowd here I have said this, that they may believe that you sent me.” And when he had said this, he cried out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, tied hand and foot with burial bands, and his face was wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Untie him and let him go.” – John 11:39-44
So often, brothers and sisters, we become entangled in the nets of our daily lives, swaddled by the negative thought patterns that race through our minds, enveloped in the dreary light of mundane and ordinary days, enwrapped in the sin and shame that eats away at our last piece of joy.
We become comfortable under the weight and the grasp of the world, settling for her empty promises.
We allow our hearts to become troubled by the future, by the past, by the to-do lists that are lined up for us the moment we open our eyes in the morning.
We allow the King’s promise of peace to be disrupted and run to wake the sleeping Lord in the middle of our storm.
We create a tomb for ourselves, and we fail to look to the One who is the way out.
And yet, when He died on the Cross for us, He gave up His Spirit that we might let Him break our chains and set us free with resurrection life.
So what is it? What is it that keeps us so comfortably wrapped in the lives we have haphazardly built for ourselves?
It is the fear of walking out of the chains, admitting defeat, enduring the storm, dropping the defenses, shedding the falsehood, emerging from the familiar lies and darkness that have protected us for so long.
It is the fear of entering the Father’s house with nothing but our raw, broken, battered self, wondering if we will be scorned or judged or turned away.
It is the fear of walking naked into the light.
There is no reason to fear, brothers and sisters.
When I was in prayer recently, I felt the Father say to me: “My love is the kind that swaddles you when you are naked and poor.”
And it is true—His love is indeed the kind that welcomes sinners and eats with prostitutes and touches lepers and speaks with demons. His love is the kind that sees through falsehood and restores identity, the kind that seeks out the empty and brings forth abundance, the kind that convicts the sinner and sets her free. His love is not passive or conditional or fake or insecure or judgmental or empty or lonely. He is good and true and warm and gentle and kind and merciful and faithful and always, always trustworthy—and so is His love.
It’s time, brothers and sisters. It is time to come out. He is calling you out of that tomb the same way He called Lazarus out. He is calling you to walk naked into the light so that He can unbind you, set you free, and swaddle you in the love that bled for you.
Rise up. Come out. Be unbound.
Let the Father undo the tangled nets and webs you have weaved for yourself, and run into His embrace. Do not be afraid to walk naked into the light, for it is there that all that once was in darkness can be raised to glorious splendor through the healing rays of His fiery gaze.
He has prepared for you a place and a white garment to clothe you. Come and dine, for there is nothing to fear.