There are some things in your life that you thought were lost, forgotten or dead like Lazarus, but they are only sleeping.
It doesn’t matter how many days or years it’s been sleeping.
It is not too late.
Whether it’s your hopes, dreams, ministry, your business or your womb – it will rise again.
It will live again.
It will come forth.
Whatever has kept them bound, whatever has kept you bound, will loose you and let you go.
I speak to everything in your life that should be alive, but is sleeping – arise and live!
Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection and the life: he that believe in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live (John 11:25).
There are some people who fall, but get right back up again. Then, there are others who fall, but have a harder time getting up. Sometimes it’s not what people have said about you that keeps you down, but what you think about yourself that keeps you down.
In John 5, the writer tells us of a sheep market or gate in Jerusalem. Sheep were led through this gate to the temple where they were sacrificed. The sins of the people were placed upon the sheep to cleanse them of their sins, but right next to the gate was a pool, called Bethesda, filled with a lot of people – a great multitude – who needed to be cleansed of their sicknesses. They were impotent, blind, halt and withered. Some of them became a burden to others because they had to be carried, lifted and transported from one place to another. These people were overlooked, forgotten, abandoned and rejected. No one wanted them while they were not well. Where were their families? Where were their friends?
But Jesus was there.
One of the people lying at the pool was a man who had an infirmity for thirty eight years. The scriptures didn’t tell us that he had been this way since birth, but thirty eight years was too long. I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly (John 10:10b). Jesus knew how long he had been in that condition and asked him if he wanted to be made whole. The man told Jesus, Sir, I have no man to put me in the pool (John 5:7). Not only was he waiting for the move of the water, but he was waiting on someone to carry him into the pool. He sounded helpless, but he also sounded like he was blaming others for his current state. If someone would have put me in the pool, I wouldn’t be here. I’m still sick because of them. It’s their fault. But Jesus never asked this man about other people. He asked a question so that the man may examine himself, not others.
Jesus didn’t say it to this man, but I believe He is telling a lot of us this: You could have been up a long time ago. In fact, you should have been walking by now. Don’t get me wrong. I do believe God will carry you, but at some point He wants you to learn how to walk. He wants you to grow up and stop feeling sorry for yourself. Stop thinking everyone is against you. Stop regretting what happened. Stop living in the past.
Sometimes, just like this man, we’re waiting on a person. We’re waiting on someone to do what God says we can do. We’re waiting on the pastor to do it. We’re waiting until the wife comes or the husband comes and then we’ll do. We’re waiting until the money comes and then we’ll give. Why don’t you give what you have now? Why don’t you do what God has told you to do now? If you’re not doing anything with little, why would God trust you with much?
Jesus didn’t take him by the hand and lift him up like Peter with the man who was lame from his mother’s womb (Acts 3:7). Instead, He gave him a word. Rise, take up your bed, and walk (John 5:8). The impotent man believed he would receive his healing through the water, but he received it through the word. God doesn’t always heal or perform miracles the way we think. We expect Him to do it one way, but He may do it another way. What I want you to understand is this: Jesus told him to do something, the man did it and he was immediately made whole. This man literally walked in obedience and in faith. Had he not obeyed the word, he would have never received his healing. No one had to carry him anymore.
I can be so hard on myself. Sometimes I beat myself up like a drum. Seriously. But falling doesn’t mean failure. I’m learning now that had I not fallen, I would have never learned how to walk. For the last few months, I’ve been praying Psalm 51:10. Create in me a clean heart, O God and renew a right spirit within me. I’ve also been asking the Holy Spirit to help me move on and let go of things (and people). Will the enemy remind you of things you did to someone or things someone did to you? Yes, but every day I am choosing to forgive – and that includes myself. Jesus has already made me free (Galatians 5:1), but now I must choose to walk in that freedom. It’s a choice.
You will recover from where you have fallen. You are going to make it. Time is too precious. Don’t spend another moment living in regret, worry or anger. This man walked for the first time in thirty eight years – and so can you! It doesn’t matter how many times you have fallen. You’ve been lying there long enough. Rise again. Take up your ‘bed’. Don’t use excuses anymore. Don’t blame anyone for what happened to you…and walk.
For though I fall, I will rise again (Micah 7:8).
lost: cannot be recovered; beyond your reach
I think at one time or another we have either taught or believed that Samson lost, but when you study the story of his life, this man of God didn’t have a sad ending (as some might think).
Samson married a woman from Timnath. Then, he slept with a prostitute from Gaza. Neither one of their names is mentioned, but we will never forget the name of the third woman from the valley of Sorek whom he joined himself to – Delilah. He loved this woman (Judges 16:4). With the exception of his marriage (which according to Judges 14:4 was a part of God’s plan), Samson didn’t do a very good job of choosing the right women. Another area where he tripped up in was in his conversation. There was a time when the Pharisees got together and plotted how they might entangle Jesus in his talk (Matthew 22:15). Samson’s enemies, the Philistines, did the same thing. Unfortunately, Samson failed the test. He told Delilah all his heart (Judges 16:17). Sometimes, we talk too much and become ensnared by our own words.
The Philistines paid Delilah to find out where Samson’s great strength lied. He had no idea that the woman he loved made friends with his enemies. It was all fun and games at first. He lied and teased Delilah three times. Each time he broke free before his enemies could capture him, but the fourth time he got caught and it was going to be difficult to break free this time. Not only did they bind him, but they afflicted him also (put his eyes out).
Samson was at his lowest point. He couldn’t see and he was forced to grind grain in prison. He was working for his enemies when his enemies should have been working for him. He lost some things – his sight, his strength, and not to mention, the Lord departed from him (Judges 16:20). Now to me, that’s a great loss, but it wasn’t over for him. Just like the woman caught in the act of adultery, Samson was getting another chance. His hair was growing – again (Judges 16:22).
The consequences of his actions didn’t feel good, but it humbled him. No chastening seems joyous at the time. Instead, it seems sad, uncomfortable and painful, but in the end it produces fruit (Hebrews 12:11). I don’t know how many years Samson was in prison. I don’t know how many years it took for his hair to grow back, but what I do know is that his hair wasn’t the only thing that was growing. If you refuse to complain or despise the Lord’s correction – if you will endure what you must go through – you will grow from it. It will make you better.
Samson’s enemies thought they won. Our god has delivered into our hands our enemy and the destroyer of our country, which slew many of us (Judges 16:24). Samson was no longer a threat to them, but little did they know that God was restoring what Samson lost.
One day, the Philistines called for Samson out of the prison house. They celebrated this man’s fall. They tormented him. They laughed at him. They made fun of him. They humiliated him, but Samson won in the end. They called on their god, but Samson humbled himself and called upon his God. O Lord God, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee (Judges 16:28). God had never forgotten Samson, but the moment Samson remembered God, God used Samson again – and even greater than before.
You may have lost some things, but you didn’t lose. Your enemies are not going to rejoice over you anymore (Judges 16:23). The only reason why Samson died was because he requested to die with his enemies (Judges 16:30), but he didn’t lose. He defeated more enemies in the end than he did in the twenty years he ruled Israel. He was even listed as one of the heroes of faith (Hebrews 11:32).
You are going to rejoice again. You are going to laugh again. God is going to restore you and every year that was stolen. You may have failed in some area(s) of your life, but you are not a failure. For a just man falls seven times and rises up again (Proverbs 24:16).
You will rise again.
It is not the end for you. There is still hope for you. Your enemies are expecting you to fail, they are expecting you to give up, they are expecting you to lose, but their expectation shall be cut off. It may feel more like pain than joy right now, but it is making you stronger and mightier. And soon, you will no longer remember the pain because of the joy that shall come.
You haven’t lost.