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Step by careful step, I made my way down the rocky shoreline. The cloudy drizzle made for quiet solitude as waves rolled across heaps of stones and patches of empty sand. The shushing of rushing water was only interrupted occasionally by the gentle clicking of rocks tumbling around each other in a surge of seawater. While peaceful, the beach lacked another human soul or even the companionship of the occasional gull. Worn rocks and dried pieces of driftwood held back the gray ocean; whatever life there was to be found seemed far away. I glanced down to watch my footing and caught a glimpse of green and pale purple. Among the debris, a flower managed to find root and grow. Here was life where it seemed none could flourish. Right in the middle of stone blossomed a testament to God’s handcrafted beauty.
Another, much larger stone once held back beloved life. Across the world many centuries ago, a dead man was tightly wrapped in linen and tucked away inside a tomb of rock. Outside his peaceful safe-keeping, a village full of mourners lamented the illness that took his life as they attempted to comfort his grieving sisters. Four days after his death, his dear friend, Jesus, finally made it to the graveside. Jesus wept along with the sisters while promising that their brother, Lazarus, would rise again. Yet, when He requested that the stone be removed from the tomb’s entrance, the idea of exposing a four-days-dead body caused alarm from his sister, Martha. Jesus reassured her, prayed to His Father, then called His friend Lazarus back into the light of life. What previously appeared to be the end of the story was actually a turning point in God’s greater narrative. God’s children were beginning to see that death was not the final closing chapter. Lazarus would continue living despite death, and later, so would Jesus.
We’ve all seen the passing of dreams, the fading of hope, the end of relationships, and the limits of crushing circumstances. In the bleak times, we have “Martha Vision,” unable to comprehend what God is about to do before our very eyes. Thankfully, Jesus offers the promise of His perspective- one that sees past human doubts and restrictions, turning the pages of a continuing story when we are ready to close the book. Just as He told the disciples, Martha, and her sister Mary (in Luke 11) that Lazarus would live, Christ reassures us that He is the source of hope and a future. The Lord foreshadows the work of His hand in our lives and then works things out for our good (Romans 8:28). We must pay attention to His words and trust that He’ll follow through with what He says He will do.
Flowers don’t emerge from rocks overnight and Lazarus’ death was allowed to linger for days. Yet, while we wait for our story to unfold, we are not left alone with our tears. Jesus wept with His friends, and He is here alongside us in our brokenness. He allows us to grieve, but whispers His promises, urging us not to remain in despair. Don’t stay there in the darkness, child of God. Come out as He calls you into the light of His love.
Friend, there is beauty among the rocks. The contrast of dry stone- literal and figurative- is a backdrop for the brilliant glory and wonder of God’s love. Your personal rocks are the perfect display for the miracles He is blooming in your life. As you carefully navigate your own shoreline stones, remember to hold on to hope. Don’t give up when it seems all debris and driftwood. New growth can thrive in the crevices. And once you discover those precious flowers, celebrate the wonders of His faithful love.