After Easter, a friend of mine under took what he called a Lazarus experiment, to spend 40 days living as though he had a second chance at life. Here are my thoughts on my own experience.
There is a camp of those who are not sure that Lazarus was all that happy to be brought back to life on this earth. They asked what did he do with this chance at a second life. We only see him mentioned once, at a dinner. He was not apart of the apostles actions recorded in Acts. There were threats against his life by the Jewish leaders, which has all sorts of irony of its own.
We are not sure where he came from, where did the old testaments saints go until the time of Christ’s victory over death. But for the sake of argument, let’s say he was in heaven in the presence of God. Then Jesus plucked him back here on earth. It is a let down. Backed to his crazy sisters who you couldn’t please at the same time, back to the unbelieving world that would kill the Son of God, back to the toil of living outside of the garden.
The draw of heaven is so strong. I know from my own experience with cancer. I was able to say if I am healed, that’s good, if I die I am in God’s presence, it was a win-win as far as I was concerned. But the more I said it, the more I longed to be released of the day to day grind of this world and bask in God’s presence. And I have heard this longing in other people who have had near death experiences.
I am healed and so I deal with living in this world. The last verse of In the Garden speaks to me “I’d stay in the garden with Him, tho‘ the night around me is falling: But He bids Me go, thro‘ the voice if woe; His voice to me is calling.” Just like Mary, I can’t cling to Him in this world, but I can learn to bask in His presence amidst His earthly creations as I go and tell.
My ‘7 year‘ Lazarus experience is learning to do that, to bask in the land of the living. Two scriptures drive this life for me. First, the Psalmist words “Be Still and know I am God” teaching me to wait for GOd’s direction. And then Jesus‘ words in Matthew 5:48 “Be perfect.” It has been so painful for me to realize that he didn’t say ‘do perfect, ‘ but ‘be perfect.‘ The only way I can achieve that is by letting go of myself and letting Jesus live in me. And all I can take is baby steps toward this lifestyle.