In chapter two of Get Thin Stay Thin, the authors use the image of Lazarus’ death and resurrection to challenge the reader to understand what God may be up to in our own lives.

The authors refer to John 11:1-44 to do this and I include the link here so you can refer to the passage if you like. (It should open in a new window.)

Some observations about the passage:

  • Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus that Lazarus was sick. (vs. 3)
  • As special as this family was to Jesus, he delayed in going to help. (vs. 6)

Jesus had a reason for allowing the delay…He knew things were going to get worse before they could get better. (Reminds me of the blog entry I posted yesterday.) But once he showed up on the scene, there would be no way of denying that the power of God had arrived in full force!

  • Lazarus’ sisters were clearly baffled that the Lord had delayed long enough that their brother had passed away. (vs. 21, 32)

It would be all too easy to accuse the Lord of not caring, of not loving enough…

–> Do you feel this way at all? Do you feel like you have begged God for help and yet help seems delayed? Do you struggle with wondering if the Lord really loves you as he claims?
In this account, we see that Jesus delayed intentionally, but for a higher purpose than could be fathomed. Perhaps this is the case with us as well. His delay is not a “No,” but is, perhaps a “Yes, when the time is right and you will see wonders you never imagined…”

  • Now that Jesus has arrived, even though Lazarus is dead, Jesus calls Lazarus out of the grave. (vs. 43, 44)

Jesus called Lazarus from death to life, as he has done for each of us through his own death and resurrection. But now we may feel abandoned and entombed in the hopelessness of our disordered eating…Jesus is there for us and does not hesitate, “Take away the stone.” (GTST, p. 40)

  • Jesus commissioned friends and family to take off Lazarus’ graveclothes (vs. 44)

Rather than to submit ourselves to the brutal task master of “rigid restraint” as seen in yet another diet that will only serve to condemn us, the Lord calls us forth out of our graves of captivity. Resurrection brings LIFE. All other options bring death. But the tricky thing about resurrection as depicted in this passage is…there are graveclothes that need unwrapping.

The authors of Get Thin Stay Thin want us to see that much of what served us while in the grave acts as a hindrance now. Layer by layer, these graveclothes must come off. We must allow those whom God has called to help us with this unwrapping, just as Lazarus could not unwrap himself.

We are alive in Christ; the saving work has been accomplished. But our grave clothes may still be in place, and if so, they can be removed only when we believe and have faith that we can be restored, when we risk stepping out of our tombs, and when we let our brothers and sisters participate in the unwrapping process. Jesus chooses to give certain people with whom we have relationships the privilege of participating in our restoration. (GTST, pgs. 40-41)

This is that call to trust and to allow those whom God has raised up for this purpose to help us to step out of darkness into the light of authenticity and intimacy with God and others. This can be terrifying. For some of us, we are quite content (thank you very much) to stay shrouded in the graveclothes that have been with us for so long. They hide us, give us a sense of security.

But we will never experience the freedom God has planned for us unless we are willing to believe that coming out of those graveclothes is worth it and allow it to happen.

When we choose to allow the unwrapping of our graveclothes, we find a God who infininitely loves us and desires that we grow up into all the fullness of the stature of Christ. But as we open the door to this light, we can expect disruption for a time. (GTST p. 45)

Oh, how true this is! And this brings me back to yesterday’s blog entry…whatever he is doing in my life, it feels like chaos, but he is up to something heavenly.

–> Do you feel even a shred of hope that you can do this, too? Will you believe Him that, while there seems to be chaos going on in your life, or what the Hallidays call “disruption” (that sure understates it! LOL!) that He is at work doing a new thing…a BIG thing…a HEAVENLY, divine thing in you?

Yes, there IS disruption, but I can’t help but acknowledge that some very serious strongholds have crashed down. Things I was in captivity to no longer have a hold on me. Forgive me for mixing all my metaphors, but I must say…While other things do seem to have me in their clutches, I know it is a matter of time before another layer of the graveclothes is tenderly, compassionately unwrapped and we continue to move forward. It is slow going, but I sense what is ahead will be wildly worth it.

Intimacy with our living God allows us to unwrap our graveclothes, release our defenses, discard our counterfeit behavior and come back to life. (GTST, p. 49)

I am coming back to life.