From My Journal

I’m reading Positive: A Memoir by Paige Rawl (Read it. That’s all I can say. Read it.), a girl born with HIV virus and who was bullied for it by her best friend in middle school. Her story is inspiring–it made me cry–it’s gut-wrenching, it’s heart-breaking and heart-warming and hope-lifting. But that’s not the reason it’s on my mind tonight. There’s a question it stirs in me, an uncomfortable one: What about me?

It sounds selfish, put like that. And maybe it is. In fact, it’s surprisingly close to a feeling of envy, as I read about her rollercoaster experience, because, because of it, she’s been able to, in a way, change the world.

And I mean, I can relate to the feelings she describes. Yeah, I don’t know exactly what it was like for her, and I’m not meaning to downplay her experiences. It took incredible strength to go through what she did and come out of it on the other side. But, I’ve had my battles too. In a way, I’ve been there, that same dark pit of hopelessness and aloneness. But even while I’ve been in these dark places, I haven’t had the same external, circumstantial manifestation of it that she had. I don’t have the same surprising, unique story she does.

It makes me wonder hopelessly: What story do I have to tell?

I feel like I’m wasting my time here. High school. Mundane teenage years when I could be doing something amazing. The years speed by in a blur. Time passes, and I go with it.

The days are long gone when I believed I had the power to change the world.

I wish I could.

I want to so desperately I can taste it. I want to be like Paige. I want to make a difference.

Paul’s words come to mind:

Three times I prayed…But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.”

Oh, God. I am so weak. I know that. And oh, God. Your grace is sufficient. It’s so sweet, so poignant, so beautiful, washing over me like the sweetest rain and sweeping me away. You have a path for me, and it’s specifically mine, no one else’s. God, I will go, I will go where you lead. I am yours, use me, in my weakness.

Remind me of what’s really important. Help me not to seek to be great by the world’s standards, but by yours. Show me what that really looks like. Stay by my side.

Love you,
Bre

When Jesus Wept: Part One of Four

11.35

 

John 11:35 is the shortest verse in the Bible. But behind those two little words, there lies a powerful theology. Here is part one of the story.

 

Lazarus laid in the bed, his sisters hovering over him. Martha, the elder, the ever-busy one, was bustling around him, trying to make him comfortable–fetching him water, another blanket. Though she knew by now–they all did–that it was pointless, she stubbornly refused to give up.

Mary was sitting by his side. No tears now. She put her hand on his beneath the sheets, but he couldn’t feel it. All he could feel was the pain, and he was ready now. Ready for it to stop. Ready to give in. Ready to surrender, to leave this broken body.

But he couldn’t yet. Jesus wasn’t here yet.

Jesus might be able to heal him. He’d done miracles before. Those who’d been blind all their lives could suddenly see. Those who’d never learned to walk were dancing in the streets. But even if he couldn’t, he had to say goodbye.

Because Jesus, to him, was more than a teacher, more than a prophet. More than a preacher, a revolutionary, even a Messiah. Jesus was a friend, and he loved him dearly.

Jesus would come. He had to come. He had to.

That was why Lazarus was holding on.

But he could feel himself slipping away. Jesus should have been here by now. The message had been sent two days ago. What if…

Lazarus’ thoughts dissolved in another round of wracking coughs. Martha ran to fetch him more water, and he didn’t have the breath to tell her not to waste the time. The light was already drawing nearer, spots dancing before his vision as his sister’s face faded.

Jesus hadn’t come.

And Lazarus was gone.

 

Out of the nothing, he heard a voice. A familiar voice, it seemed, but he couldn’t place it.

“Lazarus, come out.”

“Is that you, Jesus?” He’d come! But how…why was everything dark? What was that bright light? Why was he in a cave? And good heavens, WHAT was he WEARING??

“Lazarus.”

He stood, carefully, loosening the tight wrappings enough to walk, and moved toward the light. Blinking, he stepped into the sun.

As his eyes adjusted, he saw his sister’s teary faces, suddenly full of joy. Running toward him, they nearly knocked him over with a huge hug. “You’re back,” Martha choked. Mary was too overcome to speak.

He looked around, and saw them all, his friends, his parents, his cousins and their wives. Standing there in shock as the dead man walked out of his own tomb.

And then his eyes found Jesus.

The prophet was standing there, with red eyes and a blotchy face. His eyes glistened, and Lazarus went to him.

“You came,” he breathed.