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Do you Trust God in the Graveyard?

May 3, 2012

    We love it when God visits the graveyard.  In Ezekiel 37, the prophet has a vision in which he is standing in a valley littered with human remains.  Bones, to be exact.  The bodies have long ago decayed and fed the buzzards, and now the bones have been scattered by the wind and baked dry by the sun.  The Lord asks the question “can these bones live again?”  As Ezekiel preaches, the Holy Spirit moves through the valley and the bones reconnect, muscle and tissue form, skin covers the corpses, and a strong wind fills their lungs.  God tells Ezekiel “I will open the graves of My people.”

    In John 11, Jesus visits a graveyard in Bethany.  He finds his friend Lazarus has died and was buried four days prior.  He visits the cemetary and asks the stone be removed from the tomb’s opening.  Over the protests of the family, the grave is opened.  Now the stage is set.  With tears streaming down his face, the burdened heart of our Lord sighs, then prays.  A loud voice then pierces the eerie silence “Lazarus. Come Forth!”  The formerly dead man walked out of his grave.

    We love it when God visits the graveyard.  It means we’ll live again.  It means hope isn’t gone.  It means the love we lost can be found again.  We love it when He visits the graveyard.

    But do you trust Him to stay in the graveyard?  In Exodus 32 Moses comes off the mountain with the Law in his hand.  His heart is broken and his spirit enraged as he see the people have turned themselves over to idolatry.  They’ve built an idol – a golden calf – and named it Jehovah.  They now worship and sacrifice to it.  Moses destroys the idol, and then God brings judgment.  By the days end, Moses has to dig 3,000 graves.

    The very next morning Moses goes to the Lord and begins to pray.  God tells him to lead the people to another place and Moses replied “I will not go if Your presence doesn’t go with us.”  Wait. What?

    Did Moses just say he would stay in the graveyard, surrounded by 3,000 monuments of failure, sin and shame, if it meant staying in the presence of God?  Did he just say that he’d forsake the natural tendency to flee from trouble, if it meant he also had to leave the comforting presence of God?  Yes, I believe he did.  God’s presence was there, and that mattered more to Moses than anything else.  If God were going to hang around the graveyard and never do anything special, Moses was still going to stay by Him.

    Sometimes we want to live life and bring God along.  We want things to be ‘just right’, and we want God to visit us.  But what if we find God’s presence amidst a trial, or in a hurtful time?  Should we rush away from that place because it’s painful, or should we linger where we find His presence, gleaning all of His comfort, peace and assurance?  Don’t be in a hurry to rush away from God because you don’t like the place you found Him.  God can be trusted even in the graveyard.

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