Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the tomb. It was a cave and a stone lay against it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone” Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.”
When I read the story of how Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead this verse always made me pause. I wondered – why? Why did Jesus tell them to move the stone? First of all, it wasn’t a stone. It was a huge boulder covering the entrance of the tomb, and removing it required considerable effort from several people working together. But semantics aside, what puzzled me was the fact that he told them to move it.
I mean it’s not like Jesus needed their help. He commanded the wind and waves to be still, why didn’t he just tell the stone to get out of his way? Apparently the peopled gathered there at the tomb were bewildered by his request as well, but obviously for different reasons.
We have the benefit of knowing the end of the story, but they could understand why Jesus wanted them to remove the boulder from Lazurus’ tomb. The only outcome they saw in doing this was releasing the stench of a body that had been dead for four days. Where was the sense in that?
Acting on faith will sometimes puts us in positions that defy what seems logical. But we are not called to walk by logic. We are called to walk by faith. Sometimes God will tell you to do some things that will make you shake your head and wonder if the instruction really came from the Father or if you’ve lost your mind! Because God often requires us to do something New. Something Different. He requires you to move the stone the away from the tomb of something you thought was dead and gone. In the very next verse, Jesus said to her (Martha), “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” John 11:40
Prov 3:5 “Trust the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding.”
Jesus told them to move the stone because they had to make a choice. They were going to believe what they knew, (Lazarus was dead) or they were going to trust the Lord to deliver what they were afraid to even hope for (his life to return). They could have left the stone there and Lazarus would have stayed dead but they chose to stand on faith and trust Jesus. Once they performed the action required, they received a miracle.
Faith requires action. God loves us and wants to bless us but we have to do our part first. Trust Him and get busy.
What kind of stone is blocking your miracle?
Pride? Anger? Guilt? Un-forgiveness? Disobedience? A relationship? The past? Addiction?
How many of your hopes, plans or dreams have you pronounced dead and buried? How many of them remain dead because of inactivity?
For me it was to have my writing published. I have been writing every since I learned how. Stories, poetry, essays, thoughts, plans, dreams, wishes. You name it. I wrote it. After a few rejections I simply gave up. But that desire still burned inside of me as I went on living my life and doing other things. Then twenty years later, God led me to start this blog. The devil slithered in immediately and tried to stop me by raising all kinds of doubts about my ability to do it since I have very little knowledge of the technical aspects. But this time I will not give up.
I don’t know where this road will lead but I do know it will be a good place. Give God your hopes and dreams, then do whatever He leads you to do. Get your stone out of the way and God will move in you, through you and on your behalf.
Prov 13:12 “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.”
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Roadside tomb photo courtesy of James Emery