This title came to me in probably the funniest way possible, but I’ll get to that in a second.
I’m sure many of you are familiar with the story of Lazarus. If not, let me give you a quick synopsis. Lazarus was the brother of Mary and Martha (the same Mary and Martha I wrote about in Do Great Work) and good friend of Jesus. Lazarus was dying and his sisters knew that Jesus could heal him. But when they sent word to Jesus asking for Him to come, He chose not to; instead he waited until Lazarus was dead and buried for four days and then He raised him to life. It is an interesting story, to be sure, but at the same time it seems to be a somewhat confusing story (if you’d like to read the full account, you can find it here). Why, if this was a friend that Jesus loved, did he allow him to die? How must Lazarus have felt in those moments that he drew his final breaths? Abandoned? Unlovable? Unworthy of healing? Was he allowing himself to be buried under the weight of these thoughts even before he was dead? I wonder.
My mom sent me this song months ago and at first, it didn’t hit me. But recently, I’ve had it on repeat, singing my lungs out (just ask my poor hubby). It paints a beautiful picture of a vulnerable Lazarus, a trusting Lazarus.
In the song Lazarus says, “You came. I knew that You would come.” What emotion does that evoke in you? From my very human heart, I want to scream: “Wait, what?! In case you didn’t know it, Lazarus, you’re dead! Jesus did not come! He let you die! What kind of a friend is that?” But still, I felt so stirred by those words. How in the world could Lazarus feel that way? How could he be so trusting?
This leads me to where I got the title for this blog. My husband and I were watching “Ratatouille” (arguably one of the best animated movies, but I digress). In it, there is a scene where Remy has lost his family and friends and he finds himself barely surviving in the sewer system. He is hopeless and delusional, terrified to leave his surroundings. Then one day, he does the unthinkable. He gathers his courage and he leaves. He travels through the underground, up through homes and finally out into the city. And what does he find? “Paris? All this time I’ve been underneath Paris?” Can you imagine? You’ve been so locked in fear and mourning that you didn’t even know you were in one of the most amazing cities on earth.
Now, what do the stories of Lazarus and a rat have to do with us? I believe they are illustrations of the choices we make in life. While we may not be physically buried, we often allow ourselves to be emotionally buried. We allow fear to hold us back, jealousy to keep us enslaved to unhappiness and distrust to keep our hearts locked away from those around us. Please hear me, I do not say these things in condemnation of anyone; I am speaking these things to myself. Sometimes it feels as though I am so buried, I can’t even get out of bed. But in those moments, I hope to remember Lazarus, dead for four days, wrapped in grave clothes and lying in a stinking tomb. When he heard his name, he didn’t say “But I’m buried! I smell! I was dead!” No. He got up and walked out.
I have a recurring theme in some of my dreams. I will be in an unattractive, dilapidated house. But as I go either up to the top of the house or out through the backdoor and through a bit of weeds, I will suddenly be met by the most pristine oceanfront. And every single time, I find myself amazed. How had I been there all that time and not known what lay just beyond my vision?
Over the years, God has used dreams in my life to reveal things to me. So while my human mind wants to interpret that dream as a foreshadowing of me one day owning oceanfront property, I feel it is more likely that God is speaking to something deeper.
God is calling my heart out from beyond the grave. And I know if you listen, you will hear Him calling yours, as well.