Thursday, January 5, 2012

Raised from the Ash Heap

"So He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up" (Mark 1:31).

What a comfort this verse was when I would kneel by my bed in such anguish that I wanted to die after our son’s death. I would envision my beloved Jesus reaching to me with His own nail-scarred and sacred hands and literally lifting me up and compelling me with gracious words, "My dear child, go on with life! This is what I want for you."

Jesus lifts: "He...lifts the needy from the ash heap" (1 Samuel 2:8, Psalm 113:7). We are all in ash heaps of some kind. "The Lord...lifts up all those who are bowed down" (Psalm 145:14). Jesus raises us and nourishes us from the day we are born and then, O praise His Name, He raises us up at the great day of resurrection: "...He will raise us also" (1 Corinthians 6:14). "He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand" (Psalm 40:1,2); "I will exalt you, O Lord, for you lifted me out of the depths...O Lord, you brought me up from the grave" (Psalm 30:1,3).

"Then he went up and touched the coffin -- `...Get up!'" (Luke 7:14). Jesus touches our coffins of sorrows, excuses, doubts, hostilities and disabilities; whatever is burying our hearts and minds under a worldly heap. He implores us to rise and explore the possibilities He yet has for our life, for He has destroyed impossibilities. "...You are set free from your infirmity" (Luke 13:11), whatever it is. What a visual and comfort we have here! He encourages us to get up and out and doing for Him.

"...When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw myself" (John 12:32). O Friend, what a precious verse this is! He Himself was lifted on the cross and lifted from the grave that He might be the Lifter up of us all. He lifts the weak, the ignorant, the humble, the poor and the fearful; He elevates us all. When Jesus raised Lazarus, He told the tomb-watchers to remove the stone so He would be able to give Lazarus another life. So He asks us to take our eyes off what is burying us; to obey His command to remove our stones and come to Him for our new life that He may lift us to summits we have never known: "...He enables me to go on the heights" (Habakkuk 3:19).

Our reassuring and responsive Jesus helps quickly and affectionately. He wants us to tell Him when we are so tired and so weighed down with heartache that we want to get off the edge of it all and run away. Indeed, it is at this moment He comes and takes our hand and lifts us up. What a momentous thought!

O merciful Man of Sorrows, lift us to Your own broken Heart! Nestle us into that very special cleft of your Rock that is ours!

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