Jesus had called Lazarus from the grave, and out he stumbled. But he was still bound by the grave-clothes wound around his body and face. Others had placed these winding cloths on him, and now it took others to free him from them. When we become a Believer we are raised from the dead unto eternal life, but for many of us, we continue to wear the trappings of the tomb. These hindrances cling to us like grave-clothes, impeding our movement forward and blinding us from the truth. And just like Lazarus, it was someone else that placed them on us, binding us up in sin, addiction, and pain. So it takes others to free us from these grave clothes…to come along side to encourage, exhort, and unloose the sins that still bind us to the past.
It’s easy to trust the Lord when everything is going great in our lives. When we’re happy and healthy and all around us is peaceful…it’s almost effortless to put our faith in God. But it’s what happens when the unexpected and the unanticipated crash into our lives that really shows how rooted and grounded we are in Him. Droughts are long dry spells when rain doesn’t fall…the plants wither and the ground cracks. There are times when all of us can go through “spiritual” dry spells. Times when our soul seems parched, our body is withering, and our mind cracking under the stress… and we feel God is so far away. But if we’re firmly rooted in the streams of living water, regardless of the trial, we can still flourish and grow.
As we look at this verse, we’re reminded in Isaiah 40:14, “Whom did the Lord consult to enlighten Him, and who taught Him the right way? Who was it that taught Him knowledge or showed Him the path of understanding?” The short answer is no one! Only God Himself is the source of all truth. He is the origin of all reality as we know it…from Him alone is the beginning of all trustworthiness we can place our faith in. No one has ever instructed the Lord in how to run the universe, or make good decisions. He’s never asked for advice or counsel in a difficult situation. For from the beginning of time God has been the God of truth, exercising justice and rule over all.
Why do some decisions come easier than others? And why are there times when we are so indecisive and timid we can’t pull the trigger on anything? John 14:27 tells us, “Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” For it’s when we allow our emotions to rule us, we walk around, wringing our hands and crying, “Woe is me!” over the smallest decision. Couple that with fear of the unknown, and it’s amazing we make choices at all. Major life decisions will face all of us, but it’s only after seeking God’s counsel first and receiving His peace that we can confidently make the best choice.
John is quoting Isaiah 58:11 where it says, “The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.” Just as a river flows hundreds and thousands of miles from its source…the River of Life flows from its source, God, to enliven Believers with spiritual and eternal life.
Having a really bad day? Go outside then, take a deep breath, and look up into the sky. Now celebrate the fact that God’s majesty is on display just for you. Thank Him that He sought you out in your brokenness and worked a miracle in your life. Proclaim to Him again your trust in His son, Jesus Christ. Gaze up into the sky and recognize… that vast expanse above you can not start to contain God’s love for you.
In this chaotic and deceptive world today, how do we know what’s true and what’s false? With fake news and questionable anonymous sources spewing misleading information…where are we to find balance and authenticity? So I ask you this, how can we not search for the truth from the Creator of all truths? God’s words are trustworthy, (II Samuel 7:28). The truth found in the Bible is absolute, transcendent, and divinely revealed to you…if you but open the book. When you are armed with God’s truth, you will not be easily swayed or deceived…for when God’s word is your bedrock, you will be able to look past confusion and see God’s hand at work.