This is Part 3 in our series “The Voice: Let Me Clear My Throat”.
Good morning, peeps!
Our base passage for today’s blog is John 11, where it talks about Lazarus being called out of the grave. I was so tempted to put the lyrics to Destiny Child’s “Say My Name” song in this blog, but I practiced restraint. If you know me, that is easy for me to do at 3:30 in the morning. I’m too tired to be a rebel right now.
Last week, we talked about the power of holding our tongue. I mean, I didn’t say those exact words, but you should have picked up on that theme. Being quiet when we so desperately want to say something can be painful, especially when we’re all up in our righteous indignation. We talked about how the Word is not something you can just fling around: the intent has to be right. My intent is not always right. It just ain’t. I’m letting God help me with that. This period of marching in silence has done a number on me and I am so grateful that it has because I am a better person for it. I want you to understand what I mean about “marching in silence”. I do not go around slicing-and-dicing folks with the Word…at least, not out loud. I do that in my head. It’s those thoughts that God is silencing. And guess what? Having wrong thoughts can jack up how I interact with people, even if I don’t actually verbalize those thoughts. That is my silent treatment right now. There is power – lots of it – in holding your tongue, and you need to seek God about when and where that should be your response because sometimes, you need to say something.
Let me clear my throat.
In John 11, we find the sole account of Lazarus being risen from the dead. If you haven’t read this account before, I suggest that you pause and do it right now. There are so many teachable moments in this passage that I really had to sit still in order to know what God wanted me to say and not just go with what I wanted. I hope you know how hard that was. And this is precisely why I couldn’t post yesterday. I’m trying to be consistent, but I was also trying to do this my way and God wasn’t having any of that. Shall I remind you?
I’m so used to typing longer blogs that it felt like I’d be cheating y’all if I didn’t type a long one, but I guess I’d really be cheating y’all if I typed something that I wasn’t supposed to. Hmm. So here’s the super-condensed CliffNotes version of John 11:
Lazarus was dead. Then he wasn’t.
As I pored over John 11, two things stood out. One…well, let me just give you the verses and then I’ll explain. John 11:7-10 reads,
Then after that saith he to his disciples, Let us go into Judaea again. His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again? Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world. But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.
…and John 11:41-42,
Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God? Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.
Before I go any further, I have to tell you something super funny that I just remembered. When I was younger, all of the children in the church had to memorize a verse of scripture so that we could recite it during the Saturday night service. Yeah, you read that correctly: Saturday night service. If you’ve been with me a while, you know of my church background: I was sanctified with a capital S-A-N-C-TI-FIED. If anybody was going to Heaven, it would be us – the rest of y’all were toast. Burnt toast. We went to church seven days a week, twice on Saturday and twice on Sunday. And those church services were looooonnng – not the 1 ½ hours I’ve gotten used to. You think I’m lying? Ask my sister: on Saturday nights, service would start at 6 p.m. and end after 10 p.m.
Service would start at 6 p.m. and end after 10 p.m. *sigh* I’d probably die now.
Anyhoo, back to the memorized verse. The goal of every child was to execute the assignment flawlessly because you’d not only get the best applause, but your rear end would live to see another day. Actually, the fear of getting a whuppin’ (nobody spanked) motivated us more than applause or being right in God’s eyes ever could. We would pick verses that were simple, yet had a huge impact. You couldn’t lose with John 11:35 – it would bring the house down every time:
Aaaannnnnnnd I am done with this blog for today because we are heading in a direction I didn’t see coming. Tomorrow – yes, tomorrow – we’ll finish this. This is part 1 of Part 3.