A Story About Death and Resurrection

You came, I knew that you would come
You sang, my heart it woke up
I’m not afraid, I see your face, I am alive
–Jonathan David and Melissa Helser


 Are you done yet? I hurled the accusation at the sky. What more do you want? How much more can I take?

After five years of agonizing trauma and loss in my family, I was angry. I’d experienced the death of my mom, sexual abuse, the loss of friendships, church upheaval, and anxiety and depression. All of my infrastructure had imploded and my safety net was gone. I felt alone, abandoned and betrayed, and, worst of all, forsaken by the One who promised never to leave me or forsake me. Everything was shattered. I was shattered.

I fought and accused and railed and cried. I started therapy. One day, while talking about motherhood with my Aunt Glory, I woke up to the reality of how I’d been treating God like my parent. I was distant, accusatory, and unable to believe the good in Him. I felt the tenderness of God break through my walls of defense. I heard Him gently ask, Are you done yet?

Weary of fighting God and getting nowhere, I decided to put my questions in a box and put the box on the shelf. I was spent. Nothing was resolved, but I had to get unstuck. In order to move forward, I put all my anger and disappointment, my questions and accusations in a box marked LATER.

Yes, I’m done. For now.

We had reached a truce, a sort of brokered peace, but the war was not yet over.

Without the anger, I wasn’t sure who to be. I wasn’t ready to once again fully embrace the goodness of God, but I was no longer at war with Him. One day, in desperation, I asked Him to give me a story from scripture, something that would help me make sense of it all. Please. I need something to hold onto. I heard the gentle whisper of the Spirit say, Lazarus.

Lazarus. That was not what I expected. I honestly didn’t know where in the Bible I would find solace for my pain, but I didn’t expect it from a story I was so familiar with. At first, I was a little disappointed. I guess I had expected some obscure Jabez type of character to be the source of understanding for me. But I began to ponder the story of Lazarus, to ask what it meant for me and for my family. Here’s what He said:

First, Jesus wept. He wasn’t callous or indifferent to Mary’s pain, and He isn’t callous or indifferent to mine. He weeps with me, and sometimes He weeps even when I can’t. Isaiah tells us He is a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.  Second, He wants to reveal a new facet of Himself. Mary already knew Him as Healer. He wanted her to know Him as the Resurrection and the Life. What I knew of Him was incomplete. He is going to show me more of Himself. Third, there will be a resurrection! There will!

That was months ago, and there is still heartache and anguish over what has been. But I think back to when I asked Him Are you done yet? and how He showed me a story about death and resurrection.

And so, no, He is not done yet. Not even close.

Leslie Cardwell is a lover of Jesus, the wife of a pastor, and the mother of four delightful human beings. She writes plays with her best friend Jessica, and they are published at Pioneer Drama. Leslie Cardwell began working in theatre at Mercer University where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in English. She worked with costumes for the school’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and concluded that was definitely not her calling. Since then, she has worked in every aspect of theatre including toilet cleaning, acting, tech work, directing, and writing plays.