Saturday, July 14, 2007


Have you ever watched a television reality show or talk program and heard people talk of their harrowing experiences and you just shake your head in amazement that they were able to survive?

Recently someone very close to me was the raped by a stranger. She was attacked in a parking lot. The incident has been a struggle for all those who are close to her. We all grieve that she lost a certain part of the confidence and cockiness that made her our special one and we are praying that God will restore what the enemy has tried to destroy.

As a person who is probably not religious in the classic sense of the word but in relationship with God this has been a struggle that frankly leaves me tired much of the time. I am not sleeping well and the inside of me does not feel right. I want to yell and scream at my God for allowing this to happen to someone so close to me.

Although I am not one of those people who hold up their Bibles ala Joel Osteen and say this book is me, I find some of the stories in the Bible have themes that resonant with my situations.

Lately, I have been looking at two the first, is the Martha and Jesus encounter at the tomb of Lazarus. Martha was a woman I believe, who found herself in relationship with Jesus, he was her friend, he ate at her table probably slept at her house and when he did not show up in time to save her brother from death, she mourned.

The old cliches let her down. He did it for others, but he did not show up for her at least when she wanted him to show up. But that's not the part of the story that gets me. The part of the story that fascinates me is that Martha does what many of us do when we face trying times, we try to find that place of comfort where we come to grips with the reality of our situation.

By the time Jesus shows up, Lazarus was four days deceased. He had been wrapped up and buried and Martha although mourning her brother, and somewhat disappointed in her friend Jesus still tried to find the right things and the right words to say.

But this is where Jesus draws the line between religion which focuses in my mind on the rules and regulations and he introduces the concept of relationship. In John 11 when he proclaims to be the resurrection and the life, and says he who believes in me , though he die yet shall he live and whoever lives and believes in me, shall never die. Do you believe this?

I was feeling Martha at this point, I can feel her saying like many of us do when we are suffering and feeling pain, like my special someone is doing right now, she searched for the right words, the ones which would get Jesus off of her back so she could put her pain away again, so she could go back to coping with the reality of her life, so she tells him what she thinks he wants to hear and then says...Mary your buddy Jesus is here.

Oh I like this because it is not about her devotion. Martha is being real right now and she gets even more real later, when Jesus calls for them to open the tomb.

Damn it Jesus she says in the Harold Gibson version of the Bible, don't open that damn tomb, my heartache and my struggles have been buried in that thing, my disappointments and my failures have been buried in that thing and they have begun to rot and I don't want to smell the stench of what once was. I have learned to cope with what is and I don't want to go back there again.

My special person is dealing with that right now. She has come to a point of dealing with what happened and is afraid of counseling and going back to what happened cause the stench of it is more than she can bear.

And I am standing there with her, saying Damn it Jesus, isn't there another way? Why don't you just make it disappear. Why don't you just erase the memory from her and from us why are you forcing us to deal with what was even though it really impacts how we deal with what is?

Maybe somebody (probably me most of all) is expecting to close out this story with the end of John 11. I can't we are still standing at the tomb.

Hang in there my special one, hang in there.