This came across my Facebook feed this week: “Sometimes when you’re in a dark place you think you’ve been buried, but you’ve actually been planted.” (Christine Cane)
The day that I read this I felt a bit buried myself. It’s not that there was anything major going on in my life, but the cumulation of just, well, everything began to weigh down on me. As all of the little things pile up, I often feel the reality that life here on this swirling sphere of sin can only be described as one thing: hard.
I find it interesting that when James writes about trials (James 1:2-4), he doesn’t define what exactly a trial is. I’d like to think it’s that feeling of being buried. Yet, he just writes, “Consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds.” James expands the definition to encompass anything that tests our faith (1:3). This means that even when my trials aren’t about physical burying, about life and death, they can still result in growth (1:4). Growth is found in the everyday, ordinary huff-and-puff of life.
Mary and Martha didn’t appear to consider it pure joy when Jesus took his sweet time responding to the news that their brother was on his deathbed (John 11). I find myself in their disappointed, frustrated responses. How often have you stood at the precipice of a life-changing trial, only to feel that God was taking his grand old time coming to your aid? Yet, there is so much to learn form these women. Rather than sitting in the disappointment, they took their circumstance to Jesus, even as they prepared to bury their brother in the uncertainty of what Jesus could or would do about it. Jesus himself flat out says, “Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe,” (11:14-15). Did you read that? Go ahead, take another look. Jesus was glad?! He was glad he wasn’t there, at the bedside of a beloved friend?
Yes, so that we may believe.
It’s during those times when we’re “buried” – whether literally like Lazarus, or in grief and sadness like Mary and Martha, or like me in the daily grind – that faith can make all the difference. Faith in Jesus, in his authority over our circumstances, and in his power to do something about our troubles, this faith is the thing that can change our focus from an earthly perspective to a heavenly perspective. Jesus brought life again to Lazarus and he can bring life again and again to us, especially during those times we feel buried by our circumstances. Because Jesus is true to his promise to bring life, I can have faith that I have been planted, not buried.
Martha has been a wife for 17 years and is the mother of three children ages 10, 9 and 5. When she’s not folding laundry, c
ooking meals, helping with homework, kissing boo-boos, grocery shopping, cleaning house and running errands; she loves to hold babies at Immanuel MOPS!