My kisses were magic when my boys were young. Well, at least they thought they were. My kisses worked as though they had a soothing balm in them. Whether it was a cut finger, bumped head or leg, or even the occasional time when their feelings were hurt, a kiss from Mommy was all it took for them to calm down and the hurt disappear.
Fast forward 20 years and now my sons think mommy kissing their boo-boos is weird and totally out of the question. Believe me they still think I have some sort of magical power that can make everything turn out okay, but kissing boo-boos…well, not so much.
I don’t know exactly when my kisses lost their “magical” power or when the healing strength seemingly yielded to an innocent looking box of Band-Aids, but it did. Now whenever the blood is flowing or the cut is just too deep to be worn as a tattoo, a Band-Aid is pulled out, put on, and the healing power begins its work.
At my age, when I experience things that hurt me, instead of reaching for the coveted box of plastic strips, I tend to wrap myself up in my own type of bandage giving myself time to heal.
When the trials of life come at me slowly and infrequently I can recover easily. A little personal pampering is usually all it takes. Maybe a manicure, a pedicure, or stopping for a special cup of coffee will give me the boost I need to persevere.
But there are other times when the darts are rapidly fired and I fall flat on my face. The more darts that hit their mark the more tightly I wind myself up. I begin to feel like Lazarus. Wrapped up in my own emotions and struggles, my own sort of grave clothes and stuck behind a large rock which I cannot move on my own.
My Bible will lay unopened on my table and I will wonder why I cannot hear God’s voice. My prayer life is replaced with a pity party as I sink deeper into my own feeling of helplessness. Communication with fellow believers becomes non-existent so I won’t even hear Godly advice and direction from fellow Christian sisters and brothers.
As I try to drag myself out of the tomb I created for myself, I realize my sinful pride is holding me down. I keep trying to solve my own problems rather than bring them to the throne of grace. Once I humble myself and realize that I cannot fix things on my own, I turn my eyes to Jesus. Jesus alone can drag me out of the muck and He is always ready, willing and able to do the job.
Jesus, our dear sweet Lord, calls me out of my tomb. Jesus calls MY name and tells me to come out of the dark hole I have found myself in.
John 11:44a When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.”(NIV)
Our loving Father wants us to live outside of the tomb of sin, unwrapped from our own foolish pride, walking in the light of His word. Jesus continually calls our name encouraging us to emerge from being bound up to experience the freedom of knowing that our sins are forgiven. It is then that we know that we are redeemed not condemned.
John 8: 2-11 At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
At this those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
“No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you.” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”(NIV)
What a beautiful example of being set free from a self-made tomb of sin. This woman was caught in adultery and the punishment was stoning. She was going to die. Jesus saw how wrapped up she was in her sinful life style and He erases all of it…no questions asked…and gives her new life. This woman comes alive again, just like Lazarus. This same freedom is what Jesus wants all of us to experience.
Listen again to another part of the story of Lazarus.
John 11:44b Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”(NIV)
One by one my bandages fall limply to the ground and I rediscover God’s faithful promises in His word and sacrament. My soul is rejuvenated through prayer and words of encouragement from my friends. Wings are given to my soul through worship with fellow believers in Christ. I am renewed, refreshed, and strengthened through the power of Christ.
It is then that I am healed. It is then that my broken heart becomes whole again. It is then that Jesus can once again do His miraculous work with someone who is just so unworthy.
Featured image graciously shared by Jo-Ann Stevens Valenti