Saturday, March 27th
The season of Lent has almost come to an end; tomorrow is Palm Sunday. The reading from the Gospel of John is very appropriate as it deals with Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. The story is familiar: Jesus loved Lazarus and his sisters, Mary and Martha, and they loved Jesus. They deeply believed that Jesus could heal Lazarus, but by the time Jesus arrived, Lazarus was already dead and buried. Jesus prayed to God and then raised Lazarus from the dead.
Next Sunday, we celebrate Easter and God raising Jesus from the dead. This was a supreme act, certainly a miracle which without question, we believe took place. We seem able to accept that God can answer any of our prayers, if we believe. Yet, we often do not get the answer we were trusting God to provide and we may begin to doubt. Our trust may be shaken, and we may not wait for God to answer in His way. What can cause us to lose this trust? Are we impatient for a reply? Do we think our faith is not strong enough? Did God answer our prayer in a way we did not expect or understand? Do the many serious cares and problems we face day after day, cause us to think we are calling on God too often? How is our life being tested in new and deeply troubling ways?
In the past year we have been greatly challenged, by the incredible impact of a pandemic which has caused illness and death to millions of Americans. It has devastated our economy and caused excessive pressure on families, local governments, schools, all the institutions we count on for a more normal existence. We seem to have lost a sense of hope and confidence that things can be returned to some semblance of order.
During these times we must try to overcome a feeling of lack of control, and instead deepen our faith and trust in God. He does answer our prayers, though we may not see how God’s answers fit into the much larger realm of His universe. We are God’s children and He is omnipotent. What a wonderful comfort.
In the coming week, we will re-live Jesus’ last days on Earth, and feel in a small way his suffering. Then comes a glorious Easter morning when we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection. Easter brings new light, new trust, and new hope. Thanks be to God.